Maryland volleyball drops second straight, loses Big Ten opener

Maryland volleyball
Photo courtesy of UMTerps.com

By: Sean Montiel

Big Ten play kicked off Wednesday night as the Maryland Terrapins traveled to Columbus to face off against the Ohio State Buckeyes (7-4). The Terps were coming off their first loss of the year, and the Buckeyes had won their past two matches coming into this one. Both teams continued their ways, as Ohio State won in straight sets 25-20, 25-16 and 25-16.

A couple of kills from Gia Milana gave the Terps a 4-2 lead, matching their biggest lead of the night. Immediately, the defense of Ohio State gave its offense an opportunity to tie the score and take the lead. A combination of kills from the Buckeyes and errors from Maryland allowed them to take the first set.

The second set saw the Terps fall behind 5-1 early. A few rare errors from the home team, along with an ace and a kill from Erika Pritchard, put Maryland up 12-11. That would be its last lead of the night. Ohio State then ran away with the set, taking a commanding 2-0 lead heading into the half. In the third, a Samantha Snyder service error put the Terps down 1-0, and they wouldn’t so much as tie the score in the set, as Ohio State finished the sweep.

The story of the match was Maryland’s inefficiency on offense, which proved to be its downfall, as its team hitting percentage of .099 was the lowest of the season by far. It also fell victim to sloppy play, as it had 27 total errors in the match (19 attack, eight service). This was contrasted by Ohio State’s dominance with a .364 hitting percentage of their own and only 19 errors. Senior Luisa Schirmer, their starting outside hitter, had a match-high 13 kills.

Each and every time Maryland got something started, the Buckeyes defense stymied the attack. The Buckeyes’ 38 digs dwarfed the Terrapins total of 26, and they had multiple players to thank. Four Buckeyes players had at least five, with libero Camry Halm leading the team with nine.

The “Big 3” attackers for the Terps (Milana, Pritchard and Hailey Murray) had its worst collective performance this season. If the team wants to get back to their winning ways, it needs its trio to improve considerably. The group hit .096, leaving a huge void in Maryland’s attack, and the rest of the team was unable to pick up the slack. One of the few bright spots was Liz Twilley, who came in during the third set and had two kills at a .333 rate.

Maryland’s conference play continues as it heads to Bloomington, Indiana to challenge the Hoosiers (11-1) on Saturday night. The following week, their road trip will wrap up with Michigan State (7-2) and Michigan (10-2). If the Terps want to get back in the win column, they’ll have to do so against very good teams, and on the road to boot.

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