Maryland volleyball plays No. 19 Ohio State on Wednesday, looking to make it two wins in a row in the Big Ten. It is a rematch of last season’s upset, in which then-No. 16 Ohio State fell to the Terps in straight-sets in College Park. After a strong sweep of Rutgers on Saturday night, Maryland will have eyes on upsetting the Buckeyes again.
For the Terps (9-13, 1-9) to make it two straight Big Ten victories on Wednesday, they must carry over the clean play from Rutgers. Saturday was a battle to avoid the bottom of the Big Ten, and while the Terps kept the Scarlet Knights in last, Northwestern kept pace with Maryland in its 3-1 win over Purdue.
Through two sets on Saturday, no Maryland attacker hit worse than .300. That number cooled in a tight third set against the Scarlet Knights, but Gia Milana still posted 19 kills and a .250 hitting percentage, while Angel Gaskin had 10 kills, four blocks and a .389 hitting percentage.
Sophomore libero Kelsey Wicinski still ranks third in the Big Ten with 4.38 digs per set, including 13 against Rutgers. The defensive specialist leads the Terps in aces, but the second-cleanest serving match for Maryland came through Taylor Smith, who had three aces, and Ashlyn MacGregor, with two.
The Terps only had four serving errors to contrast seven aces on Saturday. Previously against Michigan last week, Maryland struggled with two aces and 10 service errors. It is a part of the Terps’ game which has stopped runs on a number of occasions.
Unlike the past two matches, in which Michigan had 15 service errors and Rutgers had nine, the Terps cannot rely on those free points from the Buckeyes. Ohio State averages only 2.24 service errors in its 78 total sets played, which is coupled with 1.45 aces per set.
Ohio State ranks first in the Big Ten in assists, with sophomore Taylor Hughes leading the team with 10.44 assists per set. The strong setting play puts the Buckeyes up as the third best killing team with 14.18 kills per set. Senior Taylor Sandbothe and sophomore Audra Appold lead the Buckeyes with 3.92 and 3.27 kills per set, respectively.
Ohio State (14-8, 4-6) is coming off a Saturday sweep of then-No. 11 Michigan State, a game in which senior libero Valerie Leon set a career-high of 14 digs. The Buckeyes kept errors to a minimum themselves in the match, with 13 total. Junior Luisa Schimer had 13 kills and a .417 hitting percentage, and Sandbothe added 12 kills.
On Friday, Maryland will play the Buckeyes again in Columbus. The back-to-back matches against the same team is unusual, but the Terps will definitely know what to expect on Friday, if not Wednesday.