Terps beat Rutgers in straight sets again to sweep the season series

By: Nolan DeMott

The Maryland Terrapins battled the Rutgers Scarlett Knights for the second time on the season, this time in a Sunday matinee. Last time, the Terrapins soundly defeated the Scarlett Knights in straight sets to pick up their first Big 10 win of the season. Since then, they have picked up one other win against Big 10 opponents as the come into the game 2-13 in the Big 10. In this one, Maryland, once again, handled Rutgers fairly easily (25-16, 27-25, 25-21). Yet despite the fact that games against weaker, non-ranked opponents like Rutgers are few and far between, Coach Steve Aird says the approach is no different:

“If anything, it’s a different test emotionally because I believe the pressure flips where we are supposed to win,” said Aird.

The Terps dominated the first set, putting up an impressive attacking percentage of .520. The Terps accumulated 14 kills and made one attacking error in the entire set. Among the key performers in the opening set were outside hitters Liz Twilley and Gia Milana who combined for ten kills and no errors in the set. Coach Aird, after the game, talked about Twilley’s strong performance in which she led the team in kills for the second match this season:

“A couple times this year, she has been really good…I thought she was really good today,” said Aird. “She’s [also] had a bunch of performances that I think she wants back, but when Liz is confident and taking big swings she [plays well].”

Due to the strong attacking set, the Terps got off on the right foot, winning the set 25-16.

The second set, however, was a different story. The Terps got behind early in the set; in fact, they were behind by as many as five points. They battled back, though, fighting off a Rutgers’ set point and converting on their second set point opportunity to win the set 27-25. It was an important set to win considering that on Friday, the Terps, after winning the first set, failed to win another.

In the third, the Terps looked to close out the match but received some resistance late from some stellar Rutgers’ blocking. However, the Terps were still able to persevere, going on a 7-3 run to close out the set 25-21 and the match in straight sets. While Aird said that he “wasn’t thrilled” with his team’s performance, the Terrapins did pick up their third Big 10 win. And Rutgers has now lost 22 in a row dating back to early September.

One thing to note from Sunday’s game was that Senior Ashlyn MacGregor recorded the 500th block of her Maryland career, giving her the third most blocks in program history. She responded after the fact, saying, “I kind of had an idea [about the milestone]…but I didn’t know at the time where I was at, so it was definitely neat to find out.”

Maryland will go on the road this Friday to play Illinois and Northwestern before returning home for their final games of year.