By Lila Bromberg
The Maryland Terrapins were swept 3-0 by the No. 10 Michigan State Spartans on Saturday for their third loss in a row.
This was the second time the Terrapins and Spartans have played each other this season. The Terrapins lost at Michigan State 3-0 (25-14, 25-14, 25-21) on Sept. 29.
Maryland had 27 kills and 15 errors in that matchup compared to Michigan State’s 38 kills and 11 errors.
Maryland had lost two straight games coming into the match. They fell to ninth-ranked Wisconsin 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-19) on Oct. 18 at home and lost 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-22) to Illinois on Oct. 14 in Champaign, Ill.
The first set started with a dominant kill by freshman Erika Pritchard but Michigan State plowed ahead, leaving Maryland down 10-3 early in the match.
The Terrapins were unable to catch up to the lead as the Spartans continued to produce kill after kill. Maryland lost the set 25-13, with just nine kills compared to Michigan State’s 19.
Despite starting the set down three, Maryland was able to keep the first half of the second set fairly close.
However, they were never able to take a lead and the set didn’t stay close for long. By Head Coach Steve Aird’s first time out of the set the Terrapins were losing 11-6.
The timeout gave Maryland a temporary surge to take its first lead at 13-12. Michigan State wasn’t fazed and regained momentum of the set. Maryland once again found themselves in a hole it couldn’t get out of and lost the set 25-17.
Maryland started the third set much stronger coming out of the locker room. It had a 1-0 start and went point for point against Michigan State, finally showing a little bit of light that lacked in the prior two sets.
Once again, the Terrapins couldn’t maintain control of the set for long. A 5-5 tie turned into a 6-5 Michigan State lead and from there it grew to 15-7. Maryland was down 20-11 by the second half of the set, with little hope of coming back to take the set or match.
Despite holding the Spartans at set point while they took back three points of their own, the Terrapins lost the third set and match at 25-17.
In a low-scoring game with disconnect across the board for Maryland, Aird says he doesn’t blame his team for the loss.
“I’m not mad at my kids for not being able to win or win games,” he said. “It’s [that] they’re a top 10 team and we’re not there yet.”
“Michigan State is a really good serving team, one of the best serving teams in the country,” Aird said. “I didn’t think passing was the reason we lost and I didn’t think setting was the reason we lost, I think Michigan State is the reason we lost.”
Aird has continued to emphasize that his team is young and will take time to develop into a great team.
Senior Hailey Murray, one of the few upperclassmen on the team, says the underclassmen simply need to find and believe in their role on the team.
“I think sometimes it can take years for a player to feel comfortable playing at this level and really believe that they belong in each of these games,” she said. “The faster that comes the easier it will be. I feel like all of us are still kind of figuring that out and [we] have rough nights.”
The Terrapins will continue with a home advantage for their next match. They face Indiana for the second time on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. They previously beat the Hoosiers 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 26-14) on Sept. 23.
Sophomore Gia Milana says moving forward the team needs to work on “taking care of the balls” and “making sure everyone’s on the same page.“
“We just have to get back in the gym and get better,” she said.