A return to College Park was not enough to help the Terps to find their first B1G conference win. On Friday, in front of a Maryland Madness crowd, the Terps had one of their worst offensive performances of the season. The first set started strong with the lead no greater than 3 points . Maryland took their first timeout trailing 15-12. The Terps and Spartans traded more points and the second timeout was taken by Coach Aird at 20-16 Michigan State. Maryland rallied back to force a MSU timeout at 23-20. A Spartan attack error trimmed the lead to 2. Unfortunately a Maryland hitting error, a Michgan State service ace and a Maryland ball handling error closed out the scoring and gave Michigan State the set win, 25-23. The wheels came off a bit in the second set with Maryland only able to score 3 kills against Michigan State's 12. The Spartans controlled the set early and cruised to a 25-14 win. The third set began much better with the Terps only down 15-10 before their first timeout. Both teams traded points with Maryland pulling within two again. The Spartans pulled away again to win set three and the match, 25-21. Overall, Maryland hit .000 and sided out at a 50% rate. Both numbers are well below their averages on the season and far from being competitive in the B1G. Hailey Murray continued to play at a high level, leading Maryland in kills (9) and hitting percentage (.389).
Saturday night matched up the Michigan Wolverines and Maryland. Michigan was coming off a 3-0 sweep of Rutgers. The first set began much like the previous night's match with the Wolverines hitting .556 with 16 kills versus Maryland's .000 percentage and 7 kills. Michigan dominated from the start and won 25-11. The Terps raised their level slightly in set two (hitting .062) but the Wolverines continued their offensive onslaught (hitting .462) and won the second set 25-14. The third set started similar to the first two. Michigan jumped out to leads of 13-5 and 19-9. Maryland hit much better in the third set at .417 with 13 kills but had no answers on the defensive end. Michigan had 17 kills in the third set and finished off the match 25-20. Murray had another stellar performance with 9 kills and a .312 hitting percentage. As a team Maryland had a quality blocking effort with 8 team blocks.
The main issue at this point in the season for Maryland is the inability to score points and side out at high enough rate. If they were able score points while receiving serve, it would give them a chance to serve aggressively. Aggressive serves will unlock points through blocking which is an area that Maryland can excel in. With the injury issues currently, hopefully two matches against new conference foe Rutgers will help the Terps build some confidence and gain a conference win. Maryland's next match against Rutgers is on Tuesday in College Park.