Maryland Volleyball shows a lot of grit in close loss to No. 16 Michigan

By: Sununu Bah

The Maryland Terrapins (8-11, 0-8) squared off against the No.16 ranked Michigan Wolverines (16-4, 5-3) in a rematch game Wednesday night. The Terps lost the first game in Ann Arbor 3-1, but this time around the Terps made sure to put on a fight, losing the game in five sets ( 25-21, 25-21, 18-25, 14-25, 16-18).

“Michigan should have beat us 3-0,” Coach Steve Aird said. “If you’re the No. 16 ranked team in the country you should win 3-0. If you would have told me before the match that we’d be going to the fifth set and have a shot to win, I’ll probably would have taken that.”

In the first set, Ashlyn MacGregor and Taylor Smith provided the Terps with the first two points of the game. Maryland and Michigan exchanged repeated blows throughout the set. Maryland pushed away following a service ace by Megan McTigue and back-to-back kills by Gia Milana. Back-to-back service errors by Michigan gave the Terps the clinching set win. Milana had a set-high seven kills and Smith had  a team-high, nine assists.

Terps were off to a blazing hot start in the second set after scoring the game’s first six points, before the Wolverines scored their first point of the second set. Michigan slowly pushed their way back in the game, recording their first tie at 10-10. From then on, the set followed a series of Michigan ties and Terp leads. Michigan took their first lead with a kill by Ally Davis to give the Wolverines a 19-18 lead. The Terps, however, were able to bounce back with four straight points, and seven of the last nine points to give them a 25-21 set win.

Michigan was in complete control of the third set from the onset, jumping to a 7-3 lead. The Terps were able to crawl their way back in the game to pull within one a but were never quite able to tie the game ever since they had in the beginning of the set. Michigan regained control from that point forward and pulled away and never looked back. Skjodt to Welsh to Davis won the Wolverines the third set with a score of 25-18.

After clinching the third set, Michigan was not satisfied and went on an absolute tear in the fourth set. After a quick two point start and three point rally by the Terps, the Wolverines went on a momentum swinging and gut wrenching 11-0 run. The Terps weren’t quite able to recover from the flurry of attacks by the Wolverines. What was notable in this set was that Aird pulled Gia Milana to keep her ready for the last set.

Terps fans were on their feet for the entirety of the fifth, cheering their team in hopes of their first win since September 16th. Michigan, however, had other plans, breaking the hearts of the Maryland faithful with 16-18 set win. The Terps blew two match set opportunities before the Wolverines put the nail in the coffin and tears into the Terps’ players.

“Towards the fifth set I got in my emotions, I really wanted that win,” Milana said. “I’m from Michigan so obviously I wanted that win because of the name on their jersey.”

Maryland has now fallen to 0-9 in the Big Ten, and 8-13 overall. Although Maryland is still in search of their first Big 10 win, Aird is unphased.

“We’re undermanned at every position,” Aird said. “It’s incredible that we’re still almost winning games in the best conference in the country. Part of it is because we have a great coaching staff and part of it is because the kids understand and they are tough as hell.”

Maryland will be traveling to Rutgers for their next Big Ten matchup this Saturday.