After being down 24-21 in the second set, No. 11 Nebraska seemed dead in the water, looking forward to set three against Maryland volleyball. However, the Cornhuskers refused to give up as outside hitter Madi Kubik and middle blocker Lauren Stivrins combined on a block, stuffing Maryland at the net.
This emphatic play got the crowd on its feet and helped the Cornhuskers rally. With all of the momentum shifting in its favor, Nebraska stole the second set 26-24, gaining a commanding 2-0 match lead.
Maryland was unable to recover from this deficit and it has now lost three straight games with the three-set loss to Nebraska (11-25, 24-26, 18-25) on Friday night in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Terps are now 18-9 on the year, while the Cornhuskers improve to 18-6.
The Terps are 1-17 all-time against Nebraska, with their only win coming in 1975. This is the only time these two teams will play this year, so Maryland will have to wait until next season for a shot at its second win. It is a quick turnaround for the Terps who will take on Iowa tomorrow night at 8 p.m.
Nebraska got on the board first with two Maryland errors. Middle blockers Rainelle Jones and Laila Ricks made up for these errors by contributing with one kill each before combining for a block.
Maryland’s error issue continued as all five Nebraska points were due to errors. The Cornhuskers built off of these errors by ripping off a 5-0 run to go up four.
It was Nebraska who followed its run with two errors of its own, but was immediately followed by a 6-0 run to push the lead to eight. After committing an attacking error, Kubik connected on back-to-back kills, forcing Maryland to call its second timeout.
Kubik added onto the lead with a service ace before outside hitter Sam Csire combated with two kills and a block as Maryland slowly chipped away at the Cornhuskers’ advantage.
Up 20-11, the Cornhuskers exploded for a 5-0 run to close out the set, highlighted by four kills split between outside hitters Lindsey Krause and Kubik.
The Terps were abysmal on the offensive end, only recording five kills on a -.139 hitting percentage.
Nebraska kick started things in the second set as middle blocker Kayla Caffey found the whole in the defense for a kill. Maryland yet again pieced together an early 3-0 run as Jones, Ricks, and Csire each had a kill.
After an extremely long rally, Kubik connected on another her kill, her seventh of the night, to cut Maryland’s lead to one. Csire immediately responded with a kill of her own, sparking a 3-0 run.
Coming out of Nebraska’s timeout, the Cornhuskers rattled off a 3-0 run of their own. Outside hitter Lexi Sun was the main culprit of this run with one kill and one block. Neither team was able to put together a significant run, though, as Maryland held a slim 19-17 lead.
After trading three consecutive kills, Kubik tied the set at 21 with a powerful kill, getting the sold out crowd into it. Maryland then took a 24-21 lead with a 3-0 run, but the Cornhuskers didn’t give up, rallying for a 5-0 run to escape with a critical victory set two.
Then down 2-0 in the match, the Terps came out firing in the third, jumping to a 4-0 lead. Nebraska quickly erased the early deficit with four kills and one block, tying the match at five.
The Cornhuskers then took their first lead of the set with a 3-0 run led by Stivrins.
Up 10-9, Sun started a 4-0 Nebraska run to take its biggest lead of the set. Outside hitter Paula Neciporuka interrupted the run with a kill, but this didn’t last long as it was followed by four straight points by the Cornhuskers.
Maryland was able to slice the lead to five, but it was too little, too late as Kubik officially closed the door on the Terps with a ferocious kill to complete the three-set sweep.
Three things to know
1. The Terps rebounded defensively. After having zero blocks and allowing Michigan to hit at a 40% clip in its last match, Maryland got back to its roots. Despite losing the match, the Terps played very well defensively, recording 17 blocks, 64 digs, and holding Nebraska to a .170 hitting percentage.
2. Stivrins goes nuclear. The Nebraska middle blocker had arguably her best match of the season as she tore the Terps up all night on the offensive and defensive end. Stivrins finished the game with seven kills, a .583 hitting percentage, and a match-high seven blocks.
3. Maryland falls to another ranked opponent. With the loss to No. 11 Nebraska, the Terps have now lost six straight matches against ranked opponents. Maryland’s only win against a ranked opponent came against No. 4 Nebraska in the first match of conference play on Sep. 24, and have been unable to figure out these difficult opponents since.