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Maryland volleyball weekend preview: Canes Classic

The Terps head to Miami this weekend to open their season.

Maryland volleyball’s season begins Friday.
Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

In recent years, Maryland volleyball has been dominant in non-conference tournaments. Just two seasons ago, the Terps went 12-0 in non-conference play before going 9-3 in 2022. Now, rolling into the first weekend of the season, Maryland will look to start the year off strong in Miami.

Maryland opens its season on Friday in The Canes Classic. It will take on FIU on Friday at 11 a.m. followed by Miami at 7 p.m. The Terps will finish the weekend by taking on Lamar on Saturday at 1 p.m.

FIU Panthers (8-21, 5-9 Conference USA)

It’s been a tough couple of seasons for FIU. as it hasn’t had a winning campaign since 2018. Second year head coach Cristina Robertson won 44 games and reached the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons at UMBC, and will now try to bring her winning ways to FIU.

Player to watch

Jade Sadeiko, senior outside hitter, No. 13 — Last season, Sadeiko racked up 213 kills for FIU, which ranked fourth on the team. With the departure of the three players ahead of her on the depth chart, Sadeiko should be FIU’s go-to player at the net. Defensively, sge also saw a huge uptick in her dig count, going from 13 to 143.

Miami Hurricanes (19-11, 12-6 ACC)

Head coach Jose Gandara has brought the program to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons. Entering his 10th season as head coach, Gandara turned the Hurricanes into one of the best blocking teams in the country. The Canes has not made it past the second round of the NCAA Tournament under Gandara, but will look to change that this season.

Player to watch

Angela Grieve, redshirt senior outside hitter, No. 14 — Grieve returns to Miami after leading the team in kills (422) last season, and is primed to do so for the third straight year. Her 1,234 attacks last season also ranked first in the ACC.

Lamar Cardinals (9-20, 3-15 Southland)

Similar to FIU, Lamar has struggled recently. The team has not had a 10-win season since 2015, and have not had a winning season since 2009. Second year head coach Brandon Crisp posted a 140-85 career record at Harvester, but has his work cut out for him in an attempt to bring Lamar back to relevancy.

Player to watch

Wiktoria Warpechowska, senior middle blocker, No. 9 — Warpechowska is one of the few bright spots returning from last season. Her 205 kills ranked third on the team and her 95 blocks ranked second. After leading the squad in attacking percentage (.243) in 2022, Warpechowska will most likely find herself as the focal point of an offense trying to compete with the rest of the Southland Conference.

Three things to watch

1. Will Maryland’s blocking return to glory? Maryland has led the Big Ten in blocking for three straight years, and head coach Adam Hughes’ squad is looking to repeat this success. But after the departure of the program’s all-time block leader, Rainelle Jones, the Terps may have an issue doing so. Redshirt senior middle blocker Anastasia Russ led the nation in total blocks last season, but will the rest of the squad be able to make up for the loss of Jones?

2. Will Maryland be able to take care of an old rival? The Terps are no stranger to Miami, as the two competed frequently during their mutual time in the ACC. The Hurricanes represent the biggest threat of the three teams the Terps will face this weekend, and if Maryland wants to get off to another hot non-conference start, it will have to take care of its old conference rival.

3. Will Sam Csire continue to improve? Last year, senior outside hitter Sam Csire led the Terps with 401 kills, which also ranked 10th in the Big Ten. She has steadily improved her kill count every year while at Maryland, and a hot start could see her climb the Big Ten leaderboards.