Maryland ran into their sixth consecutive ranked opponent Wednesday night. This one, though, is perhaps the best of them all. As they head into the home stretch of the 2015 season, Maryland is looking to build on the positive momentum they have recently created. There wasn't much they could do tonight, as the Minnesota Gophers dominated every aspect of the match.
The home team quickly jumped out to a 6-2 lead early in the first set. It became 16-9 shortly after.
A Minnesota service error brought the Terps to within five points later in the set, but Maryland failed to capitalize after a service error of their own.
Not long after, Daly Santana's first error of the night brought the Terps within four and the score was 21-17. Following a Gopher point, Aird called for a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Angel Gaskin connected on a kill to keep the visitors in it. Minnesota would go on to control the remainder of the set. A Paige Tapp kill sealed it as the first set ended 25-18.
Maryland built a 4-2 lead early in the second set but Minnesota had the answer, pushing themselves in front 5-4.
The Terps were able to hang with the Golden Gophers until Minnesota showed why they're one of the best in the country. With the score at 13-11, Minnesota went on a 5-0 run to take an 18-11 lead.
Minnesota cruised to another set win behind Santana's impressive play. Her sixth kill of the set sealed a 25-17 victory and gave her team a 2-0 lead heading into intermission.
Minnesota was able to limit the Terps to a .133 hitting percentage through two sets, compared to their .403 percent. Liz Twilley led the visitors with nine kills while Santana tallied the most for the hosts with 11.
The third and final set of the night was a back and forth affair early on but, like the sets that preceded them, the Golden Gophers took over. The score was 10-8 before Minnesota used a 6-0 run to double up the Terps. The Gophers won the third and final set in dominant fashion, 25-14.
Expectations were not very high tonight as Maryland ran into a Minnesota squad that is playing their best volleyball of the season. The victory was the 15th in a row for the Gophers, with their last loss coming at the end of September at Penn State.
Although Minnesota is very talented, it was disparaging to see the drastic difference between the two teams' hitting percentages. Minnesota hit for a strong .412 percent, while the Terps finished hitting a mere .152 percent. Maryland only hit .122 percent the last time these two teams squared off, but they were able to limit the Gophers to a .268 clip.
It was another solid night for Twilley, who had 12 kills and only a single error in the match. Maryland's league-leading serving was not a factor tonight, as the Gophers held them to two aces and six errors.
Overall, the match ended the way it was expected to. Minnesota is very, very good, and nobody wants to be playing them right now. The Terps will have a couple days to regroup before heading to Happy Valley for a rematch against two-time defending national champion Penn State.