Poor communication and service errors plagued the Terrapins as a stunned side was trailing to a lowly Rutgers unit by seven in the second set. Just as it seemed that all hope was lost, like magic, it was as if both sides had switched talents. Maryland took control of the set and, subsequently, the game.
The leader behind all this? Sam Csire, whose 6.67 kills per set in the match was the most by a Terp this season.
Maryland returned home following a weekend road trip where it lost at Michigan but was able to recover with a win against Michigan State.
The Terrapins had little time to rest, as a Wednesday match against Rutgers was right ahead. Maryland came in as heavy favorites, as Rutgers was 0-8 in conference play and only won two sets in its past nine matchups.
Several Rutgers errors gave Maryland an early 5-1 lead at the start of the first set. Maryland joined in on the error party right after. Their lead diminished to a tied 7-7 game.
The sloppy set continued as both teams exchanged blows. Maryland would lead by a few points, then Rutgers would come back.
The game was closer than they likely wanted, but the Terps’ top defense proved to be too much for the Scarlet Knight’s comeback efforts. Maryland won the first set 25-23.
Rutgers shot out of a cannon to start the second set, as they took an imposing 8-2 lead, which blossomed to a score of 17-10.
Maryland’s comeback efforts were futile at first, but once it caught fire, it was as if it was an entirely different team. The Terps used a 14-2 run, giving them the lead and setting Maryland at match point. This set, Sam Csire put up her finest performance, ending with 10 kills.
Fittingly, the final point came from a Csire kill which gave Maryland a 25-22 victory.
The third set was a battlefield with no clear frontrunner until Rutgers took a 15-11 lead. Much like the second set, Maryland took control late and never looked back. The Terps ended on a 10-2 run, winning the set 25-20 and the match 3-0.
Sam Csire monopolized the match with her 20 kills and 10 digs in only three sets, marking the second consecutive match where she led the team in kills.
“I played really well at Michigan State, so I just had to find a way to be consistent with it,” said Csire. “Our defense told me to swing away. They got me. [They got] behind me if I get blocked. So, I just was really confident.”
Coach Adam Hughes, however, was not very pleased with Maryland’s performance against the struggling opponent.
“I look down in the stat sheet late in the second and we’re hitting close to .400, but we’re losing the set because we just can’t serve the ball in play,” said Hughes. “That’s a bit uncharacteristic.
This match marked the first time this season that Maryland defeated two conference opponents in a row.
The Terrapins will look to continue their streak at home Saturday against Michigan State, who they recently defeated 3-1.