Rainelle Jones shines in Maryland volleyball sweep over Indiana

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Rainelle Jones turned in one of her finest performances Saturday night, as the star middle blocker racked up a double-double in a 3-0 victory against the Indiana Hoosiers .

Maryland needed Jones’ services. Maryland headed into the match coming off a four-game losing streak and its star, LIbero Milan Gomillion, was out due to an injury sustained in the prior match. Kaylee Thomas played in her absence. 

Maryland had just come off an energy draining five-set match the night before. Despite having no time to rest, the team had to establish a strong mindset heading into the game against Indiana.

“We had to go back to our basics,” said Jones. “We shouldn’t be defeated by Northwestern and the loss, because we learned that’s how they play. That’s their style of play. They always go to five sets”

The first set started and nothing could get past Rainelle Jones and Laila Ricks. The Terps stormed out the gate strong with a 9-1 lead, which included scoring the first seven points.

The Hoosiers were soon able to narrow the lead to just three, but it wasn’t long until a couple of Sam Csire spikes gave the Terrapins a new cushion. 

Rainelle Jones continued her dominance as the first set neared its end, at one point contributing to four straight Maryland points.

The lead widened to 11 points following another 9-1 Maryland run. Indiana could not pull off a miracle as the Terrapins took an assertive first set, winning 25-14.

The second set started off vaguely similar, with Maryland asserting a five-point lead before Indiana cut it down to two.

The two continued to exchange blows with Maryland maintaining its lead. The Terrapins ended the set on a 7-2 run, winning the game 25-17 and taking a commanding 2-0 lead.

Following an exchange of three-point runs, Maryland was once again the first to take control following a 6-1 run which included three kills from Hannah Thompson. 

Maryland’s commanding lead didn’t take long to be completely reduced. The Hoosiers went on a 7-2 run right after, giving them the lead.

The series was largely deadlocked as both teams exchanged blows, but it was Maryland who ultimately caught stride, going on a 6-1 to make the score 21-17. With little room for error, the nail looked to be in the coffin for the Hoosiers.

Indiana wasn’t ready to give up. It soon went on a 7-2 run to retake the lead and potentially the game with the score, 24-23.

A clutch Rainelle Jones kill tied the game at 24, and a clutch Sam Csire kill put the Terrapins in prime position to take the set and the match. The next play, Paula Neciporuka finished it. Maryland won their first game since the Wisconsin upset two weeks prior.

This marked the 50th win as a Maryland coach for Adam Hughes.

“We always want to defend home,” said Hughes after the match. “… We’re trying to make this a tough place to play.”

Rainelle Jones dominated the whole match, leading the team in blocks (12) and kills (11).

“My mindset [before the match] was to not be emotional,” said Jones. “I feel like my biggest challenge in the past was not to have fun, just be very focused. This time it was: have fun with my team, enjoy the game.”

Maryland will have a long rest before their next game at Michigan on Friday.

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