By Justin Fitzgerald
Despite having a lead in all three sets, Maryland (10-9, 0-5) lost 3-0 (23-25, 16-25,19-25) to #11 Minnesota (12-3, 4-1) Friday night in front of a crowd of 1,059 at the Xfinity Pavilion.
Both teams went back and forth in the first set but it appeared the Terps were taking control after Minnesota’s Sarah Wilhite made an attack error to give the Terps a 21-18 lead. After Minnesota scored the next two points, redshirt senior Adreene Elliott recorded one of her 10 kills to put Maryland up 22-20. After taking a 23-22 lead on freshman Liz Twilley’s kill, the Golden Gophers won a long rally on senior Daly Santana’s kill to tie the game, and they won the next two points to take the first set 25-23.
“I think you have a window in game one for the match to turn out differently if you’re tough enough to finish out the game, but Minnesota’s number 11 in the country for a reason,” head coach Steve Aird said, “Minnesota’s awfully good and we have another good team coming in tomorrow night (Wisconsin).”
After getting off to a 3-1 lead with kills from freshman Angel Gaskin and Elliott, the Terps dropped the next 6 points, three of which resulted from errors. They cut the lead to 14-12 with a kill from Ashlyn McGregor, but would get no closer. Minnesota pulled away to win the second set 25-16, the last point coming on an error by Elliott. The Terps committed 11 errors in the second set alone and 22 errors in the match, compared to just 14 by Minnesota.
In the third set Maryland came out strong taking a 9-5 lead after a kill by sophomore Hailey Murray, but Minnesota fought back and took an 11-10 lead on a service ace from junior Paige Tapp. The Terps rebounded to take a 14-13 lead later in the set, but that was the last lead they would see in the match. Minnesota scored the next three points to a 16-14 lead, and after an Elliott kill the Gophers would take six of the next seven points to stretch their lead to 22-16 and would go on to win the set 25-19.
“At the end of the day it comes back to making plays. Late in the game good teams make plays and teams that are learning don’t and I think were more on the side of teams that are learning how to win,” Aird said.
The Terps have yet to take a set against a ranked opponent this season, and have gone 0-15 under Aird against ranked foes. They have a chance to snap that streak tomorrow when they take on #16 Wisconsin.