Up 16-11 in the third set and coming off of a 7-1 run, Maryland volleyball was in prime position to take its first set of the match. Michigan outside hitter Paige Jones was not going to let it be that easy for Maryland, springing into the air to deliver a powerful kill.
This kill sparked a 6-1 run by the Wolverines that completely erased the Terps’ lead. With the set all tied up, Michigan capitalized, erupting for a 5-1 run and holding its three-point lead until the very end and sweeping Maryland.
Maryland has now lost its second straight game with the three-set loss (23-13, 23-14, 25-22). Michigan has now officially swept the season series as Maryland drops to 5-7 in conference play.
The Terps fall to 18-8 overall while Michigan improves to 14-9. Maryland will have five days off before heading on the road to take on No. 9 Nebraska for the first time this season.
Maryland was a little sloppy at the start of the first set, as the first two points came from attacking errors. Michigan built off of these errors, jumping out to an early 7-2 lead.
The story of the first set quickly became which team could make fewer mistakes as nine of the first 12 total points were errors.
The Terps began to cut into the deficit as middle blocker Hannah Thompson and defensive specialist/libero Kaylee Thomas assisted Maryland in a 3-0 run. The Wolverines responded immediately with a 4-0 run as the Terps continued to commit errors.
Shortly after, Michigan went on another massive run, pushing the lead to 11. Down double-digits, it was a now-or-never moment for the Terps as middle blocker Laila Ricks pounded the ball over the net looking to start a run.
Maryland ended up killing its own run after committing back-to-back attacking errors. Standout sophomore outside hitter Jess Mruzik officially ended the first set with a monstrous kill, as Michigan won in dominating fashion 25-13.
The Terps finished the first set with a -.061 hitting percentage and nine attacking errors.
However, Maryland started the second set much sharper, leading 6-5 and not giving the Wolverines any points without having to work for them.
Outside hitters Kendall Murray and Mruzik led the next 6-2 Michigan run, gaining a three-point advantage. Outside hitter Sam Csire was the one who stopped the run with her fifth kill of the match.
Michigan gradually increased its lead piece by piece until a 4-1 run gave the Wolverines a six-point lead and brought them five points within victory. Coming out of a Maryland timeout, Michigan continued its reign of terror by closing out the set with five straight points.
With the 25-14 second set win, the Wolverines held a commanding 2-0 match lead.
Michigan had a strong offensive performance in the second set, tallying 19 kills and a .563 hitting percentage.
Maryland came out hungry in the third set, quickly gaining a 3-0 lead. Michigan wasn’t down for long as a 3-0 run tied things up at four apiece.
Down 7-5, the Wolverines went on another 3-0 to take the lead. This didn’t last long as it was instantly followed by a 7-1 Maryland run that saw multiple Terps contribute.
Michigan cut the lead to two with a 3-0 run that was halted by an emphatic slam by Ricks that got the crowd on their feet.
Outside hitters Jones and Mruzik then combined for three kills to tie the set at 17.
The Wolverines then pulled away with a 5-1 run to take a 22-19 lead. The Terps continued to fight, going back and forth with Michigan however, they could not hold on. With the score sitting at 24-22, the Wolverines secured the sweep with a Hannah Grant kill.
Three things to know
1. Michigan dominated Maryland’s defense. Despite Maryland having one of the best service line defenses in the nation, ranking first in blocks per set (3.19) and 22nd in opponent hitting percentage (.157), Michigan had its way all match. The Wolverines finished the match with 43 kills, a .404 hitting percentage, and held Maryland to zero blocks.
2. Michigan’s Jess Mruzik was unstoppable yet again. Mruzik was phenomenal the last time Michigan and Maryland played, recording 17 kills on a .414 hitting percentage. The Terps were unable to contain Mruzik yet again in this one as she had 10 kills, five digs, and a .391 hitting percentage.
3. Maryland was unable to win a set against Michigan all year. The two teams last met on Oct. 15 where Michigan came away with a comfortable three-set victory. A similar result occurred today as Michigan ran away with the first two sets and made a five-point comeback in the third. Maryland will have to wait until next season to get its revenge against the Wolverines.