Maryland volleyball closed out the regular season with a win, beating Indiana in five sets.
Maryland played the final game of the season against Indiana in the teams’ second meeting of the year. The teams last played two months ago at the start of the Big Ten schedule. That matchup resulted in an Indiana win, 3-2.
The Hoosier rode the swing of outside hitter Mady Saris who had 20 kills in that September match. The key for Maryland to end the season with a win was to avoid a repeat performance from Saris.
The defense was able to slow her down in the first set. Saris only slammed home two kills, and the defense held her to a negative hitting percentage. The defense blocked five balls total as the Terps rode their stellar defense to a 25-21 set victory.
The defensive success didn’t carry over into the second set. The Terps didn’t record a block until set point, and they allowed the Hoosiers to hit at a .700% clip. Saris and her fellow outside hitter Candela Alonso-Corcelles combined for nine kills in the set, to lead Indiana to a 25-10 set win.
Maryland continued the trend for the Terps, where they win the first set but lose the second set.
“It was nothing like specific. I just thought they got really hot. They started to turnover really well, got off to a big run. We missed one or two plays early,” said Hughes.
Coming out of intermission, both teams found their rhythm. The teams were tied 5-5 early in the set when Indiana went on a 3-0 scoring run to take the lead. The Hoosiers held that lead through the rest of the set. The Terps cut the lead to two, but in the end, the set win went to Indiana 25-20.
The fourth set started with dueling 3-0 scoring runs. The teams traded points until a 4-0 scoring thrusted the Terps into the lead. That lead was challenged multiple times by Indiana. The Hoosiers were able to cut the lead to one, 19-18, forcing head coach Adam Hughes to use a timeout.
The timeout worked wonders as the Terps returned to play, scoring three straight. Maryland used the momentum to flip the script from set three, winning 25-20.
And just like a scene from a movie, Jones in her last regular season game as a Maryland Terrapin, took over the fifth set. Jones had two blocks and a kill to put the Terps in a great position to win the set.
“We did have a lot of five sets in our belt that we didn’t win so this was a really good momentum that we had in the fourth set to take on to the fifth,” said Jones.
Jones finished the match with a double-double tallying 10 kills and 11 blocks. That eleventh block was the set winner, a fitting end to an amazing Maryland career.
“I guess the first thought was don’t cry. I know that the team has been begging me to cry but I didn’t want to in front of them,” said Jones.
The win was the first fifth-set win that Maryland has had all year. The win showed how much the team has grown and overcome since the start of the year.
“While we sustained it for growth you know obviously, I want us to have a lot of success but to see people step up and people to overcome you know situations and we’re 0-4 in five gamers from that point,” said Hughes. “It’s a pretty fitting way to finish a great season.”
The Terrapins finished the regular season with a 16-16 record. The Terps had many lows and triumphs throughout the year, but those triumphs were very big.
Maryland earned a couple of signature wins on the year, taking down No. 9 Purdue on the road and upsetting No. 5 Ohio State at the Pavilion.
“I thought we were playing pretty good ball for the last couple of weekends and then you know to have our backs against the wall. Could have easily just kind of laid over and surrendered and they’ll never do that,” said Hughes.
Although it is unlikely the Terps will make the NCAA tournament, Maryland will await the final decision. That decision will come on Sunday when the tournament teams are selected.