I'm still a little giddy from yesterday's beat down of West Virginia and probably celebrated the win a little too heartily so today's recap for the other Terrapin teams in action Saturday - volleyball and men's soccer - will be brief. Since I like to end my columns on a positive note when I can, I'll start with volleyball.
Without All-ACC outside hitter Ashleigh Crutcher, Friday's straight set losses to twenty-fourth ranked Ohio and tenth ranked Michigan were understandable even if the former was highly competitive and a bit disappointing. Saturday's five set loss to Marshall, on the other hand, is a bit more perplexing. The Terps have a fairly young but talented squad that I think should have been able to handle the Thundering Herd even without Crutcher's presence as the first set clearly demonstrated. The Terps got out to an early 3-0 lead and despite a lapse in the middle of the set that allowed Marshall to take a lead at 15-13, Maryland, reasserted themselves and outscore the Herd 12-5 to take the set 25-20. Maryland outhit Marshall .400 to .179 for the set.
It would be unreasonable to think the Terps could maintain their .400 first set hitting percentage but the second set drop off was puzzlingly precipitous falling to zero with only 10 kills and an equal number of errors. Despite this, Maryland's defense was solid enough to pull the Terps to the verge of winning the set as they led 23-20 and had the serve. However, attack and ball handling errors came back to haunt them as Marshall ran off five straight to take the set. Maryland found their stride in the third set and after tie scores at one and two, the Terps took a lead that they never surrendered as they marched to a relatively comfortable 25-22 win.
The Herd essentially returned the favor in the fourth set. The Terps did mange some early lead exchanges but trailing 7-6 Marshall scored three straight capturing a lead they'd never relinquish. They took the set by the same 25-23 margin as their second set win as the Terps again saw a decline in their kill percentage though not nearly as steep as the drop between sets one and two. The final set was a back and forth affair with Maryland taking a 9-7 lead before falling behind 13-11 and coming back to tie the set at thirteen and a gain at fourteen. In the end, the Herd prevailed by a 16-14 final. Adreene Elliott led Maryland with 19 kills followed closely by Mary Cushman's eighteen. Cushman added 16 digs to notch a double-double. Emily Fraik also registered a double-double with a career high 11 kills to which she added 14 digs. Catie Coyle also reached a personal best for her Maryland career with nine blocks. Sarah Harper led the team in digs with 20 while Julia Anderson and Amy Dion again shared setting duties notching 27 and 23 respectively. The Terps return home to open ACC play on Friday facing off against Georgia Tech in a 7:00 pm match.
Meanwhile, down in Clemson South Carolina the seventeenth ranked Terrapin soccer team faced off against the thirteenth ranked Clemson Tigers. Maryland had the first corner kick opportunities with back to back chances in the eight minute but failed to capitalize. After this the Tigers went on the attack. Between the sixteenth and twenty-seventh minutes, Clemson had five corner kicks. The young Terps defense held strong and the game remained scoreless until a foul in the box that earned a Clemson yellow card gave Maryland a penalty kick opportunity and senior leader Patrick Mullins capitalized putting the Terps up 1-0 in the thirty-sixth minute.
Though Maryland took the 1-0 lead into halftime, Clemson needed little time to garner the equalizer scoring just 1:48 into the half. Just as the Terps' halftime lead didn't hold up long into the second period, the tie was also short lived. Less than three minutes after Clemson's score, Sunny Jane found Schillo Tshuma and Maryland recaptured the lead. The Terps dominated play through the middle of the half forcing Tigers' goalkeeper to make three saves between the fifty-third and sixtieth minutes. The pressure eventually paid off as Mullins registered his second goal of the match and fourth of the season with an unassisted score in the eighty third minute. Clemson did manage two late corner kick but the Terrapin defense was again solid as Maryland closed out the 3-1 win. The Terps now stand at 2-2-2 on the season and 2-0-1 in conference play. After two straight on the road, Maryland opens a four game home stand Tuesday night at 7 pm as the Old Dominion Monarchs come to Ludwig Field.