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Maryland volleyball weekend preview: No. 2 Wisconsin and Ohio State

The Terps return home after a four-game road stint.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Maryland volleyball is coming off a weekend to forget, as it suffered back-to-back sweeps against Michigan State and Michigan, respectively.

The Terps now return to College Park with just one win in their past four outings.

In front of a sold-out crowd Friday at the XFINITY Center Pavilion, Maryland will take on No. 2 Wisconsin at 7 p.m. before facing Ohio State at 1 p.m. Sunday.

No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers (22-1, 13-1)

What happened last time

Maryland and Wisconsin last met on Oct. 15, during which the Terps were soundly defeated in straight sets. Maryland’s offense was stagnant, with no player regustering more than five kills. Bad attack selection and solid defense from the Badgers led to a .029 hitting percentage for Maryland, while Wisconsin slashed a .311 mark.

Wisconsin senior outside hitter Sarah Franklin had her way with the Terps, recording 18 kills. On the other side of the ball, Maryland was stuffed to the tune of 53 digs and eight blocks.

In both of the first two sets, late, uncontested Wisconsin runs were more than enough to keep the Terps at bay.

What’s happened since

Wisconsin has continued to dominate the rest of the country, with its lone loss of the season coming against No. 1 Nebraska in a five-set thriller. Outside of the Nebraska match, Wisconsin has only dropped one set since facing Maryland.

Sophomore middle blocker Carter Booth continues to be one of the top hitters in the nation. She ranks fifth in the country with a .443 hitting percentage, and Anna Smrek is not far behind with a strong .396 percentage.

Ohio State Buckeyes (9-14, 6-8)

What happened last time

Maryland was swept by Ohio State the last time the two teams met on Oct. 1. The match featured strong defensive play, as the teams combined for 23 blocks m. Redshirt senior middle blocker Anastasia Russ and freshman middle blocker Eva Rohrbach led Maryland with five and three blocks, respectively.

With both of the first sets being close, Maryland was able to limit two-time All-American Emily Londot, who currently ranks in the Big Ten with 423 kills, to a .091 hitting percentage with nine errors.

What’s happened since

Since meeting Maryland as the No. 22 team in the country, Ohio State has been in a bit of a slump. The Buckeyes are 4-6 since then, with losses against Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin and Indiana. Ohio State enters the contest ninth in the Big Ten standings, one spot ahead of Maryland.

Ohio State has been a middle-of-the-pack team statistically as the season winds down. The Buckeyes do not necessarily do anything extremely well or poorly, except total blocks, in which they rank last in the Big Ten with 148.5.

Three things to know

1. Back at the Pav. Maryland returns to College Park after a two-week road trip. The Terps have played well at home this season with a 5-3 record. Perhaps the energy of a sold-out crowd can give the Terps momentum on Friday night.

2. Sweep or no sweep? Maryland has been swept in three of its last four games, with its sole win also coming against Iowa. It was also swept by Wisconsin and Ohio State early this year.

3. Can the offense find its rhythm? In its three most recent losses, Maryland recorded an average hitting percentage of 0.07, with 58 total errors. If the Terps want to turn their season around, their offense will need to get going.