Stop me if you've heard this before. The Maryland Terrapins defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights three sets to two in a volleyball match. The two newcomers, who sit at the bottom of the Big Ten volleyball standings, met Tuesday night in College Park and again Saturday night at Rutgers. Tuesday night, Maryland dropped the first and fourth sets while winning sets two, three and five to register their first ever B1G conference win. Saturday night, Maryland dropped the first and fourth sets while winning sets two, three and five to register their second conference win.
Here are some of the minor differences:
1) Saturday, Maryland pushed Rutgers to overtime before dropping the first set 25-27. (Tuesday the Scarlet Knights edged the Terps 25-22 in the first.)
2) Maryland out scored Rutgers 111-101 in total points Saturday. (Tuesday, Maryland's edge was 105-100.)
3) Maryland improved their hitting percentage from .161 on Tuesday to .245 Saturday. However, they didn't defend as well allowing Rutgers to double their hitting percentage.
4) While the Terps out blocked the Scarlet Knights for the second consecutive night, the Terps had 2.5 fewer blocks and four more blocking errors in the second match.
5) Saturday night's match had seven fewer tie scores (24-31) and four fewer lead changes (13-17).
6) Approximately 1,000 more people attended the game in College Park and Saturday's match was neither broadcast on BTN nor streamed on BTN2GO.
7) Tuesday night, only Ashleigh Crutcher who led the team with 22 kills, reached double digit kills for the Terps. Crutcher again led Maryland with 20 kills Saturday night but was joined by Emily Fraik with 12 and Hailey Murray with 11 kills.
8) Tuesday night, only Carlotta Oggioni recorded a double double for the Terrapins picking up 19 assists and 12 digs. Oggioni repeated her double double Saturday with 26 assists and 10 digs but also had two teammates join her. Whitney Craigo dished out 20 assists and added 10 digs while Fraik added 11 digs to her 12 kills.
9) Saturday night, libero Amy Dion led Maryland with 13 digs. Tuesday, it was Fraik who had the team leading 13 digs.
The first half
As for the match itself, the Terps had a chance to win a hotly contested first set. After rallying from an 8-6 deficit to take a 13-10 lead, Maryland let Rutgers slowly crawl back into the set and tie the score at 17 and then retake the lead at 18-17. The Terps tied the score at 18 and the squads then traded the next eight points. The Scarlet Knights led 23-22 when Maryland became the first team in that stretch to score consecutive points. Holding the serve and a set point at 24-23, the Terps failed to close out the set and paid the price when Rutgers came back to win 27-25.
The second set was another closely contested affair with Maryland generally clinging to a one or two point lead over the first 26 points. When the Terps ran off four straight points behind kills from Kelsey Hrebenach, two straight by Crutcher, and one by New Jersey native Chavi St. Hill, it looked as though they had taken a firm grip on the set stretching the lead from 14-12 to 18-12. But Maryland likes to keep these things interesting and three times allowed Rutgers to narrow the gap to three points before the Terps finally closed out the 25-21 win to knot the match at one set all.
After the break
Set three largely belonged to the Terrapins. The set's four ties and two lead changes all occurred in the first 16 points. With the score tied at eight, Maryland won five of the next six points to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Opening their largest lead at 17-12, it again appeared that the Terps had the set firmly within their grasp. Still trailing by five at 20-15, the home team called a timeout and successfully broke Maryland's momentum managing to close the gap to three just as they had in the second set. Rutgers had squeezed within two before a kill by Murray gave the Terps a sideout and a 22-19 lead. Behind strong serving from Oggioni, Maryland ran off the next three points to seal the 25-19 win.
Stamp set four "Property of Rutgers." The Scarlet Knights jumped on the Terrapins from the outset running out to a quick 12-5 lead. Maryland crept within three at 14-11 but RU won two straight to open the lead back to five. As Rutgers had done in the two prior sets, the Terps showed some spunk by winning five of the next seven to narrow the gap to two at 18-16. Trailing 24-18, the Terrapins staved off three set points but the hole was too deep and the Scarlet Knights held on 25-21 to again force a fifth set.
As they had Tuesday, Maryland grabbed early control of the deciding set sprinting to an 8-3 lead. Because the fifth set is played only to 15, an early five point lead should essentially place a stranglehold on the set and the match. And it did for Maryland. The Terps actually opened the lead to seven holding match point at 14-7 after an ace by Emily Fraik. Rutgers saved two match points but then committed a cardinal volleyball sin by giving the match away on a service error - their 13th of the match.
Maryland will be back in action Friday night October 31st at 7:00 pm in the Pavilion at Xfinity Center. The Terps will be in search of their third consecutive conference win as they host the 9-12 (1-9) Iowa Hawkeyes. The 14th ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers will come to the Pavilion the next night to open the month of November.