Maryland volleyball went into this past weekend’s Aztec Classic trying to get over two consecutive tournaments with a loss, but it would not be able to go undefeated yet again.
The Terps’ first two games against San Diego State and Sacramento State weren’t perfect, but they got the job done, beating each team, 3-1. The last game against Arizona was a five-set affair, but ultimately the Wildcats came out on top, winning 3-2, with Maryland losing the Saturday game for the third straight tournament to start the 2022 season.
Match one: San Diego State
In the first match Friday, Maryland went on a 5-0 run to start the game and never looked back in the first set. Junior outside hitter Sam Csire led the team with six kills, continuing her form as the points leader on the squad. Freshman outside hitter Laila Ivey contributed with five kills as Maryland took the first set, 25-14.
The second set was contested from the very start, and runs by both teams ended up tying the set at 19 toward the end. But, a 6-2 run for the Aztecs that featured two Maryland attack errors caused the set to slip out of the Terps’ claws as they fell, 25-21.
After losing a contested second set, the Terps were faced with losing the third set in a similar position, going down 20-19. But this time they learned from their mistakes, going on a 6-0 run to win the set, 25-20. Ivey and junior middle blocker Laila Ricks each had four kills.
Maryland ran away with the fourth set, going on an 18-10 run to start, and finishing things off 25-18; it ultimately won the match 3-1. Csire had a dominant performance, with a team-high 18 kills on a .302 hitting percentage. Ivey wasn’t far behind her upperclasswoman teammate with 13 kills of her own.
Match two: Sacramento State
Shortly after the San Diego State match on Friday, Maryland would go against Sacramento State and take the first set with ease. A 5-1 run in the middle of the set and an 8-3 run to end the set would be enough to win, 25-17. Csire had four kills while redshirt junior middle blocker Anastasia Russ chipped in with three kills of her own to help take the first set.
Just like the first match, the Terps faced a lot of adversity in the second set. The Hornets started it off with a 6-2 run to put head coach Adam Hughes’ team down early. They kept fighting from behind the whole set and managed to get within one point of their opponents at 24-23. However, a kill from freshman Caitlin Volkmann took the set for a 25-23 final in favor of Sacramento State.
The third set was also tightly contested, with both teams knotted at 20 apiece near the finish. Csire led the way offensively with five kills as Maryland went on a 5-1 run to take the set, 25-21. The fourth set was even tighter, as a mashup of runs the whole set left both teams tied at 25 at the end. A kill by graduate student middle blocker Rainelle Jones, a service error and an attack error by Greta Davis gave Maryland a 28-26 set victory and a 3-1 match triumph. While Csire led the way again in kills with 13, Russ put in a great performance on both sides of the ball, posting seven kills and seven blocks.
Match three: Arizona
The Terps tried to get out of their Saturday slump against Arizona. Set one was a battle, getting to 21-21 toward the end of the set. But sloppiness throughout the set — including five attack errors for Maryland — ended up making the difference as the Wildcats won, 25-22.
Set two was just as hotly contested, getting tied up at 20-20 at one point. Although, this time it was the Terps’ turn to come up clutch, going on a 4-1 run powered by two Csire kills to take the set, 25-22. A 7-0 run from Maryland would give them the edge in set three. Five late-set kills by Jones would help maintain the lead as the Terps won, 25-19.
Facing a loss, the Wildcats roared back in the fourth set after initially being down 5-0. A 7-0 run in the middle of the set and sophomore opposite Puk Stubbe’s five kills got Arizona a dominant 25-17 victory to force a fifth set. In the last set, Maryland couldn’t keep up with the Arizona offense, as junior outside hitter Jaelyn Hodge had five kills. Arizona would win the set, 15-11, taking the match, 3-2.
Despite the team taking its third straight Saturday loss, the weekend featured plenty of good performances. Csire had 50 kills on the weekend, and Ivey had 11 kills in the first start of her collegiate career.
The team will not be far from home next weekend, traveling to Charlottesville, Virginia, where they will take on Mercer, East Carolina and Virginia in the Cavalier Classic.