Maryland volleyball completes clean sweep in first two games of Maryland-Invite tournament

Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland volleyball started off its 2022 campaign with a bang, sweeping Rhode Island and Navy.

Hope, excitement, and energy all of which could be felt in The Pavilion at the Xfinity Center, as Maryland Volleyball started their season with a pair of wins at the Maryland Invite. 

Maryland volleyball started its season with a matchup against the Rhode Island Rams, who owned a four-game winning streak over the Terps. The last matchup between the teams came in 1993, which resulted in a Terp loss. 

The Terps came out firing in the first set, jumping out to an early lead. The big three of Rainelle Jones, Laila Ivey and Sam Csire combined for 18.5 points in the set, leading the Terps to a 25-11 victory in the first set. 

The second set started off tight with neither team able to gain much ground on the other. The Terps were able to break through, scoring 6 unanswered points en route to winning the set 25-17. 

Ivey, a freshman, continued to be a huge presence for the Terps’ offense, adding two more kills to her total and battling through some first-game jitters. 

“I think she was a little nervous going into her first match. She really likes Kevin Durant, so I sent her a text last night saying about how he said he had nerves coming back from his injury so I told her it was ok to have little nerves and you know, I thought she handled her role pretty well tonight,” Hughes said. 

Anastasia Russ also contributed in a huge way, tallying her first three kills of the day. 

The third set brought more of the same success, jumping out to a 5-0 lead early. The Terps carried the momentum of their prior set wins, winning the third set 25-13. 

This was a very complete game for the Terps getting contributions from all over their roster. 

Middle blockers Anastasia Russ and Rainelle Jones made their presence felt on the court, combining for 15 kills, giving coach Adam Hughes confidence up the middle. 

“We feel really confident about the room of middles,”  Hughes said. 

Outside hitters Laila Ivey and Sam Csire also had a great showing in their first game of the season combining for 27 kills. 

The Terps’ second matchup of the day was a battle with the Navy Midshipmen. The Terps came into the matchup boasting a 10-0 record all time vs. Navy, with Maryland’s last win coming in 2015. 

The Terps battled early in the match until a Milan Gomillion ace sparked a Maryland run that helped them take a commanding lead. 

The Terps won the first set 25-14. Rainelle Jones continued her domination, going a perfect 3-3 on the attack and adding three total blocks. 

The Terps kept it rolling to the second set winning 25-20. 

The defense shined in the set, tallying 4 blocks in the set. Csire also added 5 kills in the set,  proving vital in swaying the momentum back to Maryland. 

The Terps ended the day of volleyball by winning the third and final set 25-12. 

Maryland Volleyball enjoyed a very successful day at home, going an undefeated 2-0 on the day. 

There were many contributions up and down the Maryland roster with the team tallying 83 kills between its two games. 

 Hughes believes it all starts with setter Sydney Dowler, who can increase the tempo.

“I think  (Dowler’s) done a good job trying to keep tempo from different locations and these guys are trusting that she’s gonna get them the ball.”

Maryland will wrap up the Maryland-Invite with a challenge against Florida Golf Coast on Saturday evening.