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Maryland volleyball falls once again in straight sets to Iowa

The Terps performed better than last time, but still left searching for first Big Ten victory.

Volleyball Sammi Silber / Testudo Times

Maryland volleyball fell for the second time in straight sets this season to Iowa. While they delivered a better performance than last time, the Terps did not have enough to keep up with a rolling Hawkeyes team, who have five straight victories, a streak put in motion after its last win over Maryland.

Maryland kept it closer than it did in Iowa City, but still are without a Big Ten victory after falling with set scores of 23-25, 24-26, and 19-25.

Maryland never had sound control of the back-and-forth first set, but the Terps let what lead they had slip away late. Maryland’s 22-21 lead vanished with a service error, followed immediately by an Iowa ace. Liz Twilley’s kill following Coach Steve Aird’s timeout to tie the set back at 23 was not enough to stop Iowa from taking the set 25-23.

It was one of the best sets played in the Big Ten season so far. Three errors and five kills from Gia Milana and a .714 hitting percentage for the Michigan native were all great signs.

But those great signs could not translate into a second-set win either. Iowa took a set this time very much dominated by the Terps, 26-24. The Hawkeyes finally had their first lead at the 20-19 point, and while Maryland did a great job to battle back three points to stop Iowa’s initial 24-21 match point advantage to tie it at 24, the Terps could not finish it off.

The first and second sets were as close as the Terps could make it. Iowa handled Maryland to see out its second straight-sets victory over Maryland this year with a score of 25-19. Three service errors within the first six Iowa points did not help matters. It was a problem Iowa suffered from throughout the match as well, actually totaling 11 service errors to Maryland’s eight.

Three things to know:

  1. Maryland doesn’t yet have that killer instinct to put away a set. The Terps were right there in all of them, in prime position to win before a late Iowa surge did them in. It’s a tough lesson to learn and one that will be taught to the young team by being in scenarios like this.
  2. Milana carried the Terps’ offense, and that’s more than okay. The No. 16-ranked freshman in the country has shown her class in her past two games. She had career-high 21 kills against Michigan State last Saturday and a close second Friday night with 20.
  3. Iowa out-blocked the Terps, which shouldn’t happen. It has not been a big part of the Hawkeyes’ game thus far this season, second-worst in the Big Ten prior to this match in blocks per set, but Iowa’s 10 total blocks made attacks difficult all night.

Up next:

The Terps play No. 2 Nebraska on Sunday. The Cornhuskers themselves have chance at redemption in their rematch against No. 19 Ohio State Friday night. The Buckeyes are Nebraska’s only defeat thus far.