The Maryland volleyball team has more losses than wins for the first time all season. Entering play this week, the team stood at an even 10 wins and 10 losses. They now are two games under the .500 mark as they remain winless in conference play.
Maryland was handed one of its best opportunities in conference play when they faced the Spartans on Wednesday night. After dropping the first set, the team showed signs of life. They trailed early in the second, but then fought back to tie the score at 12. Whitney Craigo followed with a kill and the Terps were in front.
The Terrapins rallied to steal five of the next six points and were in control. Adreene` Elliott served up an ace later in the set, giving her team a 23-19 lead. Michigan State called a timeout, hoping to slow down the Terps.
Despite scoring three points out of the timeout, the Spartans were unable to stop the Maryland attack. Two kills from Liz Twilley gave the Terps the 25-22 victory.
Michigan State responded well, taking early command of the third set. The Spartans used a 10-0 run to give themselves a 20-9 lead late in the set. The Terps suddenly didn't have an answer to the MSU attack.
Abby Bentz served well throughout the night, and her two aces brought UMD within seven. Unfortunately for Maryland, it was too little too late and Michigan State won the set 25-15.
Maryland was behind yet again in the fourth set, but was able to remain within striking distance. Behind a kill from Angel Gaskin and a service ace by Ashlyn MacGregor, the Terrapins held a 12-10 lead.
The team continued to extend its lead when Craigo set Hailey Murray up for a kill. Michigan State was forced to call a timeout trailing 16-11. Maryland seemed poised to force the match to a decisive fifth set, but the Spartans had a different plan.
Out of the timeout MSU went on a 14-2 run to close out the match. Shell shocked, Maryland saw its chances of stealing a victory vanish, and they lost the match 3-1.
The team continued its impressive serving, tallying eight aces in the match.
Elliott continued to shine in the battle against No. 23 Michigan. After starting out conference play with staggering numbers, she seemed to slow down. Elliott returned to her normal ways Thursday night, racking up 16 kills and hitting an impressive .444 percent.
The teams were trading blows early in the match, with the score remaining close throughout. Maryland took the lead in the middle of the set when Murray powered home a kill -- giving the team a 11-10 lead.
Maryland extended its lead to 15-13 on a kill from Twilley, leading to a Wolverine timeout. The Terps were able to hold the lead until back-to-back kills from Carly Skjodt tied the teams at 20. Michigan pulled ahead on a kill from Abby Cole and the Terrapins never recovered. The maize and blue went on to win the set 25-22.
Early in the second set Twilley was able to give her team an 8-7 advantage. Michigan responded by taking the next four points, giving them an 11-9 lead. Maryland remained competitive, keeping the lead within striking distance. The Wolverines, though, were able to prevent a UMD comeback. They used a late 6-0 run to push past the Terps 25-16.
The Terrapins were able to make the third and final set competitive, but went on to lose 25-23.
Maryland played two solid teams this week. If they had avoided the crash in the fourth set against MSU, they would've entered the fifth with all the momentum. Who knows how that may have ended?
Despite losing in straight sets for the fifth time in conference play, the team played Michigan very well. They only lost by three points in the first set and two in the third. Those are signs of progress against a nationally ranked team. Coach Aird certainly cannot complain about that.
Moving forward, the team opens a home-and-home with Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are winless in Big Ten play and Maryland beat them twice last year, so this could be a great opportunity for the Terrapins to get two wins under their belt.