Maryland volleyball went 9-3 in nonconference play last season and looked to continue that success in the first day of the Canes Classic. In two matches that both went four sets, Maryland secured its first win against FIU, but dropped its second against Miami.
Match one: FIU
Maryland got out to a quick start in the first set with 5-1 run, including two kills from Eva Rohrbach. A back-and-forth contest ensued with Maryland attaining a slight advantage, but the Terps were never able to achieve more than a four-point lead.
Two late kills from Samantha Schnitta and one from Sam Csire brought Maryland to within one, but a Laila Ivey attack error ended the first set in a loss for Maryland, 25-23.
The second set started in a similar fashion to the first with both teams knotted up at 5-5.
Fighting to maintain their 17-15 lead, Anastasia Russ recorded her first solo block of the season to put the Terps up by three. Another kill from Ivey forced an FIU timeout as momentum began to swing in Maryland’s favor.
However, two FIU kills and a Csire attack error brought the Panthers back within striking distance. Back-to-back FIU kills tied the contest at 22, but a Schnitta kill and FIU errors secured the set for Maryland.
Maryland trailed, 11-10, to begin the third set, but a 5-1 run catapulted it to a 15-12 advantage.
Once again, Maryland ripped off a 5-1 run to take a 20-15 lead behind Csire’s 14th kill and third service ace. From that point on, the Terps rode an 11-4 run to take a 2-1 lead in their first match of the season.
With Maryland looking to close out its first match of the season, FIU fought back, jumping to an 8-4 lead to begin the fourth set.
However, Maryland did not let FIU escape its grasp. The Terps capped off the set on an incredible 15-6 run to secure a win in their first match of the year.
Match two: Miami
Miami, who made the NCAA Tournament last season and entered the year receiving votes in the preseason poll, came out of the gates hot against Maryland.
The Canes ripped off a 9-4 run to open the first set before expanding their lead to 16-9, forcing a timeout from Maryland head coach Adam Hughes.
Schnitta recorded four kills early, three more than her next closest teammate, which was a common theme in the first few sets. Miami eventually went on an 8-2 run to take the first set, 25-13. The Canes posted a strong .773 hitting percentage in the set.
Maryland once again found itself down early in the second set, but was able to bring the game within one, at 17-16, after a 5-1 run courtesy of two kills from Ivey and an ace from Jonna Spohn. It wasn’t enough, though, as Miami held on for a three-point victory, taking a commanding 2-0 set lead.
The Terps were finally able to fight back in the third behind a strong attack from Csire and Ivey. It looked like Maryland was sure-fire avoiding the sweep, but Miami brought the game to within one again, at 21-20. However, Csire’s six kills were too much for Miami as the Terps brought the set deficit to one.
Entering the fourth set, both sides battled it out as neither was able to draw more than a one-point lead. The stalemate finally broke at 14-14, when Miami opened up a 5-0 run behind two kills and two service aces to take a 19-14 lead. Maryland clawed back to within two thanks to three kills from Schnitta, but a late-set surge by Miami carried the Canes over the Terps, 25-23.
Now 1-1 on the season, Maryland will finish the Canes Classic with a matchup against Lamar 1 p.m. Saturday.
Three things to know
Anastasia Russ didn’t miss a beat. Russ unsurprisingly led the Terps in blocks in both of Maryland’s first two matches of the season. Coming off of a year in which she was one of the best blockers in the nation, look for her to continue her dominance going forward.
Sam Csire shined. The senior outside hitter racked up an impressive 17 kills for the Terps against FIU, surpassing the 900 career kills mark. She also added eight kills and nine digs against Miami.
Unforced errors hurt the Terps. Errors are a thing to keep an eye on going forward for the Terps. They committed more errors than FIU and Miami in both of their matches, and while only a small sample size, Friday may have shown a theme. Maryland committed six more errors than Canes, many of those coming in the late stages of the fourth set.