By AJ Poore
A near flawless day against UMBC ended Maryland volleyball’s near flawless weekend at the Charm City Challenge, as the Terps beat the Retrievers, 3-0.
Maryland entered the weekend with a 6-0 record but after sweeping the sets against both Howard and Quinnipiac on Friday they entered Saturday’s match with an 8-0 record. Maryland was also riding a ten-set winning streak.
Now, the Terps will head back to College Park winners of thirteen straight sets and with an undefeated 9-0 record. No team over the course of the weekend even managed to score over 18 points in a single set against Maryland’s defense, and UMBC was no exception.
Early in the first set, Maryland jumped out to a 10-6 lead over UMBC behind three kills from outside hitter Sam Csire, forcing UMBC head coach Cristina Robertson to call her first timeout of the day.
But defense was the name of the game for Maryland all day. Time and time again the Terps came through with big blocks and miraculous saves, highlighted in the first set by a pancake-save made by libero Milan Gomillion which allowed Maryland to take a 13-7 lead.
Csire continued her hot start throughout the set, finishing with seven of her eleven total kills. Middle blockers Laila Ricks and Hannah Thompson both added 3 kills apiece in the set, and propelled Maryland to a 25-17 victory.
UMBC looked determined to end Maryland’s now eleven-set winning streak early in the second set. No matter how many blocks and digs Maryland’s stifling defense made, UMBC refused to give up and kept the set tight.
Outside hitter Paula Neciporuka uncharacteristically struggled throughout the first set, however her first kill of the game sent Maryland on a 5-0 run that gave the Terps an 11-7 lead.
Three more kills from Neciporuka motivated Maryland throughout the rest of the set and gave them a 25-13 set two win.
UMBC’s outside hitter Mia Bilusic and opposite hitter Emily Ferketic gave Maryland fits throughout the game. The two had racked up a combined 10 kills in the first two sets.
The beginning of the third set saw UMBC take advantage of stifling distance, quickly getting three of their five total blocks on the day and taking an 8-4 lead, which forced Maryland head coach Adam Hughes to take his first timeout of the day.
Maryland came out of the timeout playing near perfect defense, hardly allowing UMBC to get the ball over the net for the rest of the set and holding them to a -.186% hitting percentage over the third set. This defense led Maryland on a 21-5 run to end the set 25-13, and improve to 9-0 on the season.
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