Down 2-0 in the match, the Terps were desperate to avoid their third straight loss and second sweep. Outside hitter Sam Csire did all she could to take an early lead, but after a monstrous kill by middle blocker Arica Davis, the Buckeyes got rolling.
AVCA Second Team All-American outside hitter Emily Londot got in on the action with three kills to continue what would become a 6-0 Buckeye run. Now up 8-2, Ohio State was able to maintain the comfortable lead all the way to the finish line and complete its second conference win, putting their conference record back at .500.
Maryland is now 1-3 in conference play after losing to Ohio State in three sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-19). After their biggest win in program history against Wisconsin, the Terps have only won two sets, falling to a 13-3 record.
Maryland is now 5-15 all-time against Ohio State and hasn’t won a match since 2018. The Terps will have one more opportunity to take down the Buckeyes this season on Nov. 26 in College Park.
The Buckeyes started out hot in this one, leading the game off with back-to-back kills and following that up by forcing Maryland into two errors, taking a 4-1 lead early on. Csire was a bright spot in the first set for the Terps as she helped tally the first two points with precision kills to the Buckeyes’ side.
Ohio State didn’t let Csire and the Terps gain much traction early, however, responding with a 4-0 run and forcing Adam Hughes to use his first time out. Maryland came up with the first points out of the timeout, but the teams traded three consecutive points as the Terps were unable to cut into the lead.
Ohio State then strung together three consecutive kills, making Hughes use another timeout as the Terps started to fall behind. This time, Maryland was able to slice the Buckeye lead to five with a 3-0 run.
The Terps continued to inch closer, only down 19-17. Despite the Terps' continued efforts, Ohio State narrowly came away with the first set 25-21.
Middle blocker Laila Ricks was extremely efficient in this first set, recording three kills and a .429 hitting percentage.
Csire and middle blocker Rainelle Jones got things started for the Terps in the second set, but Londot helped the Buckeyes take a 4-2 lead early.
After exchanging 2-0 runs, the Buckeyes rattled off a 3-0 run, giving them a four-point lead. Down 11-6, Maryland erupted for a 4-0, bringing them within one. Ohio State had an answer, however, pushing their lead back to five with a 4-0 run of their own.
The teams continued to battle before Londot and the Buckeyes took a 19-13 advantage, the biggest of the game, putting pressure on the Terps as a 2-0 match deficit is extremely hard to come back from.
Now with the Buckeyes within two points of victory, Ricks and the Terps cut the lead to five, but it was too little too late as Ohio State secured the 2-0 match lead off of back-to-back Maryland errors.
Similar to the second set, Csire accounted for the first two Maryland points but was immediately overshadowed by Londot who contributed with three kills of her own. The Buckeyes now held a commanding 8-2 lead, within their 2-0 match lead.
The Terps continued to fight back, cutting the lead to four multiple times. Maryland simply had no answer for Ohio State’s offense, as 12 of their first 14 points came on kills.
Up 15-11, Ohio State ripped off another big run to bring them within five points of ending the match. With almost all hope lost, two Buckeye mistakes brought life back to the Terps who capitalized with a 4-0 run.
Ohio State immediately put an end to this third set comeback with a 3-0 run. On the brink of elimination, Maryland mustered up one last 2-0 run before officially falling to the Buckeyes in three sets.
Three things to know
1. Neciporuka was heavily missed in this one. Before Maryland’s loss to Ohio State, Neciporuka averaged 3.66 points and 3.13 kills per set- both of which rank second on the team. Her absence was greatly felt as no one had more than 9 kills on Maryland’s roster throughout the match.
2. The Terps’ hitting percentage doomed them on the road. In a match where Maryland likely needed to play at a near-perfect level to upset a talented Ohio State squad, the Terps’ hitting was less effective than their counterparts’ overall hitting performance. Ohio State’s hitting percentage sat at .306%, while Maryland successfully hit at a clip of just .148%. The Terps’ lack of effective hitting was a reason as to why it couldn’t come away with a win.
3. Maryland will soon face its first unranked conference opponent. Maryland has faced perhaps its roughest four-game stretch of the season with all of their opponents being ranked in the top 15. The Terps recently faced ranked teams such as Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota and now Ohio State. However, Maryland has paid its dues within a talented conference and it will finally face an unranked opponent again with Northwestern on Friday night.