Losing two matches in a row is not common for the Penn State volleyball program. Although, after losing to Minnesota last weekend and Michigan on Wednesday night, they had lost back-to-back matches for the first time since 2011.
One could argue that Saturday night was the best time to be playing the Nittany Lions. They were in an unfamiliar position and their heads could be focused on something other than Maryland. On the other hand, the defending national champions could be desperate to get back on track and focused on making sure they do so.
The latter appeared to be the case.
The two teams traded blows through most of the first set. Penn State was able to distance itself on multiple occasions, but Maryland kept finding ways to close the gap. An Adreene' Elliott service ace brought the visitors back within a point, but that would be as close as they would get.
Penn State was able to rally from there and took three of the next four points to win the set, 25-20.
Maryland spread the wealth early as six players recorded at least one kill in the first set. Service errors were a problem though. The Terps had five errors compared to two aces in the set.
There was no messing around early in the second set for the Nittany Lions. They jumped out to a 10-3 lead and forced Maryland to burn its first timeout of the set. The dominance continued out of the timeout as the lead extended to 14-4 before coach Aird used his second timeout.
The set went on to play out the same way it started as Penn State cruised to a 25-11 victory heading into intermission.
Elliott led the way for the Terps with eight kills through two sets.
Despite battling back and forth early, the Nittany Lions used a 11-2 run to build a 18-10 lead that held for the duration of the third set. Maryland last led 8-7 before Penn State went on to win by a final score of 25-13.
In front of a crowd of 6,505 people, Penn State desperately needed to get back on track as the regular season winds down. Maryland could not get anything going as the Nittany Lions dominated every aspect of the match.
The Terps were limited to a .103 hitting percentage, and the Nittany Lions hit for a .358 clip. Maryland only had two service aces in the match compared to their eight errors. Penn State served six aces with only four errors.
Elliott led both teams with 12 kills on the night and Wicinski recorded the most digs with 13.
Maryland will square off with Iowa on Wednesday night in College Park in their final home match of the season. The Terps got past the Hawkeyes, 3-1, earlier in the season, so it should be a highly competitive affair. After that, they will travel to Northwestern for the season finale.
There isn't much to take from this match. Penn State played very, very well. Maryland didn't. The team will look to send the seniors off on a positive note in their final home match at Xfinity Pavilion on Wednesday night.