By: Nolan DeMott
On Saturday night, the Maryland Terrapins faced off against Rutgers and finally snapped a ten game losing streak with a straight set win (25-20, 25-19, 26-24) to pick up their first win against a Big 10 team this season. Coming into the match, the Terps had not won since September 16th, and had just come off a devastating five-set loss against Michigan, in which they had blown a two set lead. The Terps have had a lot of close calls this season against strong opponents but have never seemed to be able to pull one out. On Saturday though, they only had to go against Rutgers, a team that also had yet to get a win in the Big 10 (0-9).
The Terrapins had one of their best sets of the entire season to open the match. They recorded 16 kills as a team while only throwing in three errors. However, the set stayed relatively close until the mid-way point before Maryalnd, assisted by a few Rutgers mistakes, went on a 7-1 run to pull away. On their first side-out set point, an area that the Terps have struggled with this year, senior Ashlyn MacGregor was able to put the set away with a kill. The first set has been crucial for the Terrapins this season, as they have not won a game all year when dropping the opening set.
In the second set, it took a while for the Terps to get going; they trailed 15-13 mid-way through. But then, just like in the first, Maryland came alive and won 10 of the next 11 points en route to eventually getting handed the set on a service error by Rutgers. As Maryland found out on Wednesday night, though, no lead is safe.
And like that third set against Michigan, the Terps did not play very well. They committed 10 errors in that set alone, which was three more than they had made in the first two sets combined. Because of that, the Terrapins found themselves behind late in the set 18-14. However, like in the previous sets, Rutgers made a bevy of errors down the stretch, and on set point at 25-24, Maryland’s leading kill-getter on the season, Gia Milana was able to put the match away.
Milana once again led the team in kills with 19. She has been doing this consistently throughout the season, and as the season has gone on, she has, for the most part, been able to cut down on the errors as well.
This was one of the more interesting wins for this team considering that, in many matches this season, Maryland has been the team surrendering leads late in sets. In this match, however, they trailed in every single set at least once and still came back to win all three. With the win, Maryland improves to 9-13 on the season with their next match coming against another ranked team in the Big 10, Ohio State.