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Big preview of Volleyball's first ever B1G home matches this weekend

The Terps nearly pulled off their first Big Ten win at Northwestern last weekend before dropping a five set heartbreaker. They will try to recapture some of that magic when they host Indiana and Purdue in the first ever home B1G conference weekend.


Well, it's finally here. after opening their season with 13 consecutive road contests - including two in conference - the Maryland Terrapins volleyball team finally gets to play in front of their home fans when the Indiana Hoosiers and the 15th ranked Purdue Boilermakers come to College Park. To add an additional layer of excitement, the two matches this weekend not only open the home season they are also Maryland's first ever Big Ten conference home games.


WHO: Indiana Hoosiers @ Maryland Terrapins

WHAT: First ever Big Ten Conference home game for Maryland

WHERE: Xfinity Center Pavilion, University of Maryland College Park

WHEN: Friday, October 3, 2014 at 7:00 pm


Maryland opened Big Ten play by dropping a pair of matches at 16th ranked Illinois and at Northwestern. Though the Illini swept the Terps in three games, the Terps took the Widlcats to five sets and had two match points. The Terrapins have been a bit inconsistent this season but have shown stretches of being able to compete with some of the better teams they have faced meaning some of the better teams in the country.

Indiana on the court

The Hoosiers enter the game on Friday night with a 10-4 record and are 1-1 in the B1G. They opened at home dropping a 3-1 decision to Michigan State on Friday while following that with a 3-2 win over Michigan on Saturday. As a team, Indiana ranks one spot above Maryland in hitting percentage though the gap is quite wide with the Hoosiers hitting at .215 and Maryland hitting at .170. Conversely, Indiana's opponents hit .205 which is 13th of the 14 teams in the conference. Maryland's opponents hit .190.

The Hoosiers are a dangerous serving team. Their 1.58 aces per set is second only to Penn State. Statiscally, Indiana also blocks and digs better than the Terps. However, this may be a bit misleading as Maryland has already faced three of the top 20 teams in the country and has not played a match at home whereas Indiana has not been so strenuously tested.

Individually, Hoosiers' junior outside hitter Amelia Anderson leads the team with 3.29 kills per set which is good enough for 14th best in the conference. She's followed by Morgan Leach and Taylor Lebo. Lebo has gotten the most swings to date and is the most dangerous server for the Hoosiers. Defensively, Indiana is led by defensive specialist Courtney Hamish who leads the conference with 251 digs and is fourth in the conference in average with 4.56 digs per set.

As Indiana's win over Michigan shows, the Big Ten can be a very unforgiving conference. However, if the Terps can consistently play at the level they reached in the second and third sets at Northwestern, they have a strong chance to pick up their first conference win on Friday.



WHO: Purdue Boilermakers @ Maryland Terrapins

WHAT: Big Ten Conference home game for Maryland

WHERE: Xfinity Center Pavilion, University of Maryland College Park

WHEN: Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm

The volleyball Terps will have Saturday off from competition and perhaps their coach will let them enjoy Maryland football's home Big Ten opener against Ohio State. We can be certain they will spend time in the film room at a minimum, though.

Purdue on the court

Like Indiana, Purdue opened their conference season at home against Michigan and Michigan State. Unlike the Hoosiers, the Boilermakers picked up two wins defeating Michigan 3-2 and topping the Spartans 3-1. The Boilermakers have shown some vulnerability however. Though they have only lost twice on the season, both came in five sets and both were losses - on the road at Western Kentucky and at home to St. Louis -  that would be considered upsets.

Purdue is the second best hitting team in the Big Ten with a hitting percentage of .298 just behind Penn State. Coming into the second weekend of conference play, they are fifth in the conference in opponents' hitting percentage. The Boilermakers average 14.7 kills per set and are led by 6'4" junior outside hitter Annie Drews. Her 4.27 kills per set leads the conference. Where Drews is high volume, she's assisted by Kierra Jones and Adelaja Faye who are high efficiency. Jones averages 2.23 kills per set and Faye adds 2.44 but both are in the top seven in hitting percentage. Jones, at .441 is second behind Penn State's Nia Grant.

Defensively, Purdue is more or less in the middle of the conference. They average 2.44 blocks per set - good for sixth place - and their 14.12 digs per set is eighth in the league. Although the Boilermakers are a solid team, the Terps have faced teams at or above their level of play and while a Maryland win would be a major upset, it it not entirely