With Maryland holding a 2-0 set lead over Iona, the score was tied at 12 apiece in the third set. Iona was playing with a sense of desperation as any mistake could prove costly in the match.
Like they have done all season long, Maryland’s front line sparked a massive run to end Iona’s day.
Graduate student outside hitter Paula Neciporuka started the 9-0 run with a monstrous kill. The run would later see graduate student middle blocker Hannah Tompson explode for four straight kills.
With a nine point lead, Maryland was able to finish the job and secure a three-set victory (25-13, 25-10, 25-15) over Iona to improve to a perfect 6-0 record.
Maryland’s win over Iona wraps up the first half of nonconference games, as they head to Baltimore next weekend.
Coming off of two wins on Friday, Maryland started the third game of the weekend with kills from middle blocker Laila Ricks and Neciporuka to give the Terps an early 3-1 lead.
With the score tied 4-4, Maryland rattled off an 8-1 run, forcing the Gaels to make multiple errors. After trading 3-0 runs, Ricks came in with another spectacular kill to begin the end of the set. The Gaels were unable to stop committing errors, and the Terps took advantage with a set-sealing 9-1 that concluded with two Ranielle Jones kills to take a 1-0 match lead.
The second set picked off right where the first one left off, with the Terps gaining an early 4-1 lead, with three of the points being Iona errors. Similar to the first set, the Terps erupted for another early run that included a mixture of errors, kills, and a lone Kaylee Thomas service ace to put them up seven. However, this time the Gaels had a four-point response, to which the Terps would immediately respond with a 7-0 run, that included two Sam Csire kills and a thunderous Cara Lewis kill.
Iona was unable to claw itself out of this hole as Maryland capped off the second set with a 4-0 run to win the set 25-10, the second-biggest margin of the season.
The third set started out differently as the Gaels became desperate. Both teams were trading blows early, preventing each other from pulling away.
Iona was able to muster up a 3-0 run before a Lewis kill sparked a 4-0 run by the Terps to go up by one.
After a back and forth battle in the early stages of the set, the Terps absolutely exploded for a 9-0 run, with seven of the points being kills.
The Terps yet again beat the Gaels by double-digits as they were clearly the better team.
Maryland dominated Iona in nearly every statistical category. The Terps almost doubled in kills and a .308 hitting percentage compared to -0.068.
The Terps also made life difficult for the Gaels at the net with a total of seven blocks and forcing 24 attack errors.
Three things to know
1. Newcomers continue to make an impact. Graduate transfers Paula Neciporuka, Kaylee Thomas, Hannah Thompson, and freshman Milan Gomillion have provided versatility and depth to a roster that desperately needed it this offseason. The four combined for 18 kills, 22 digs, and two service aces in the Terps win on Saturday.
2. Sydney Dowler continues to be essential. Dowler has been one of the most important pieces to this Maryland team as she finishes the day with all but one of the team’s assists. Dowler has been a terrific setter, allowing her teammates kill opportunities. Dowler had 31 assists in the three sets played today, by far the most on the roster.
3. Maryland is now halfway through nonconference games. The Terps are now halfway through their nonconference opponents on the schedule and have only lost three sets in six matches. Next week, Maryland will make the short drive to Baltimore to take on Howard, Quinnipiac and UMBC. If Maryland is able to keep this level of play up, they could make some noise in the Big Ten when conference plays gets underway.