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Maryland volleyball sweeps Austin Peay and Kansas State at the Wildcat Invitational

The Terps begin their 2019 season with two notable wins.

Maryland volleyball Photo by Maryland Athletics

Maryland volleyball made the most of their weekend, turning Saturday into a day-night doubleheader sweep against Austin Peay and Kansas State.

It really seemed like head coach Adam Hughes and the Terps (2-0) were ready to get this season underway after waiting all through the spring and summer. It finally arrived on Saturday, against two tough opponents: Austin Peay and Kansas State.

Hughes told Testudo Times earlier in the week about the different playing styles of both opponents and it showed on Saturday, but the Terps were able to stay in matches and play competitively.

The tournament started out well for Maryland as they took on the Governors in the early afternoon.

Austin Peay (0-3) 25-20, 26-19, 25-15

Maryland handily took care of the Governors, who ended up finishing the weekend 0-3, but they needed some help in order to get there.

That help came in the form of some long runs. Maryland’s first spurt came in the first set as the Terps went on a 7-0 run en route to a 25-20 set win. A similar occurrence took place in the following set with an 8-0 as Maryland jumped out to a commanding 2-0 match lead, winning the set 26-19. The Terps finished with match with a 7-0 run to smoothly win the set, 25-15 and the match, 3-0.

The Terps dominated in all facets of the match, hitting .265 to Austin Peay’s .122, and managed to only make 10 errors, which half of what the Governors committed in the match. Maryland also recorded 40 kills, five more than Austin Peay, and held a 8-3 advantage in aces.

Junior outside hitter Erika Pritchard led the Maryland attack with 12 kills, twice as many as redshirt sophomore middle blocker Katie Myers and sophomore outside hitter Emma Schriner, who had six each, respectively. Pritchard was second in digs as sophomore libero Allegra Rivas led the team with 20. Senior setters Samantha Snyder and Taylor Smith shared the assisting duties against the Governors, finishing with 16 and 10, respectively.

Kansas State (1-2) 20-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-25, 15-9

The Terps and Wildcats went back-and-forth in their match, but a massive 8-0 run in the fifth set tiebreaker gave Maryland the 3-2 victory.

Kansas State was prepared to play, catching Maryland off-guard early. The Wildcats went on a 6-1 and 9-2 runs to take the first set, 25-20. Maryland responded in set two, jumping out to an early 11-5 lead. The Terps narrowly avoided blowing the lead late, but hung on for a 25-23 set win to tie the match at 1-1.

Maryland used a 6-0 run in the middle of set three to win it 25-21, taking a 2-1 advantage in the match. However, Kansas state responded in the fourth set to take a convincing 25-15 win and tie the set at two apiece. That tie was short-lived as Maryland took care of business in the fifth set, winning 15-9 after jumping out big early on.

The Terps ended up leading the match with a .229 hitting percentage, 59 kills, 56 assists, 60 digs and 11 total blocks. The offense once again revolved around Erika Pritchard, who hit .412 in the match with 25 kills, 15 more than the next two Terps, Katie Myers and Rebekah Rath.

Allegra Rivas was the leader in digs with 17, Samantha Snyder and Pritchard followed with 11 and 10, respectively. Snyder had 15 more assists than Taylor Smith in the nightcap with 29.

Maryland will travel home to face Howard on Monday at 6 p.m. before their second tournament at the UTSA Classic in San Antonio, Texas.

Three things to know

1. Erika Pritchard was as advertised. Pritchard led the Terps in kills in both matches Saturday, finishing with a total of 37. The Middletown, Maryland, native also had a great day on attack, hitting .357 against Austin Peay and .412 against Kansas State. She was not only deadly on the attack but was efficient with her shots, which the Terps needed down the stretch against Kansas State.

2. Maryland found their replacement for Nicole Alford...if needed. The Terps were without their standout setter Alford for this weekend, but Maryland filled her hole in the lineup. Hughes decided to switch off between junior Taylor Smith and Samantha Snyder. But Snyder emerged as the more efficient setter, leading the Terps in assists in both matches and 45 total on the day.

3. Rebekah Rath is going to be an impact freshman. Rath played the most of the newcomers and she made her presence known. In her debut, Rath recorded 16 kills, 14 digs, and four block assists on the day. Maryland made the most of her time on the court, and Hughes will look to continue to use her a lot this season.