Maryland volleyball (7-2) came into its first home stand of the season seeking a dominant weekend with conference play less than two weeks away.
The Terps did just that, managing their first perfect weekend of the season. They defeated Coastal Carolina and Princeton at the Xfinity Center Pavilion before taking down Howard in straight sets in Washington D.C.
Maryland will head down to Florida for their last nonconference tournament next weekend. The Terps are scheduled to take on Le Moyne, FAU and Florida Gulf Coast.
Match one: Coastal Carolina
The Terps and the Chanticleers fought evenly early — a common theme throughout — before a 9-4 Terps run forced a Coastal Carolina timeout. Sam Csire led the way with two kills and a service ace for Maryland during that run. Maryland continued their intensity, opening up an eight-point lead late in the first set. Csire continued to carry the load for the Terps, recording five kills in the set, including her 950th career putaway. Maryland comfortably took the first set, 25-16.
The second set was much closer, until Eva Rohrbach sparked another run to give Maryland a four-point lead halfway through the set. The run was capped off by a long volley that ended in a Lilly Gunter kill to the excitement of the home crowd.
The Terps eventually extended the lead to six before Coastal called another timeout. The Terps recorded three service aces in the set, two from Gunter and another from Csire.
Unlike in the first set, Coastal surged back, leading to a contested finish.
Up 24-23, Maryland still prevailed, as Rohrbach’s fourth kill of of the match gave Maryland a 2-0 set advantage.
The Chanticleers became the aggressors in the third set, taking a quick lead. A game of cat and mouse ensued as Maryland couldn’t come within two points for most of the set.
Maryland looked to be on the way back, but saw a point taken away from it after a Coastal Carolina challenge to stall any momentum.
Despite two late kills from Laila Ivey, Maryland’s comeback attempt fell short, and the Terps dropped the third set, 25-21.
An electric fourth set, with each team trading blows, brought the crowd to its feet on numerous occasions. Late in the set, back-to-back attack errors by the Chanticleers tied the set at 19.
The teams continued to trade points as the score evened up at 25. In the win-by-two situation, Coastal Carolina rallied while on the brink of elimination, recording back-to-back kills to take the set, 27-25.
For the first time this year, Maryland entered a fifth set.
The set began with a pair of emphatic kills from Csire and Laila Ricks as the Terps quickly took a 4-1 lead. Coastal drew the set even at 5, but Maryland responded with another 4-1 run to take a 9-6 lead.
After a few steady points, the Terps finally closed the match out.
Sydney Dowler delivered the decisive blow with her fifth kill of the set to take the win, 15-13.
Three things to know
1. No Schnitta, no problem. With Samantha Schnitta feeling under the weather all weekend, the Terps had no problem taking care of business despite one of their leaders out of the lineup.
2. Going the distance. This was Maryland’s first five-set match of the season. The Terps fared well as the energy in Xfinity helped buoy them to the win.
3. Xfinity energized. It was no Memorial Stadium with 90,000 fans, but the Xfinity Pavillion was rocking for the Terp’s first home game, a sight that head coach Adam Hughes hopes will become a common theme this year.
Match two: Princeton
Ricks, Rohrbach, and Csire all recorded a kill early as Maryland and Princeton drew at 5-5.
The Terps began to pull away late on a 5-2 run behind back-to-back kills from Ivey, which gave the Terps a 21-19 lead. Fighting for a first-set win, a Rohrbach kill put Princeton away, 25-23.
The Terps started the second set with a 3-0 run, but Princeton kept the it close, benefitting from seven Maryland errors.
Down 21-16, the Tigers responded with a 4-0 run, as Maryland continued to commit errors. In another back-and-forth finish, Csire’s first service ace of the day secured Maryland the win, 25-23. Her 11 kills led all players as Maryland went up 2-0.
Looking for the sweep that eluded it Friday, kills from Russ, Gunter, and Csire propelled Maryland to a 4-2 run before Princeton evened it up at four all.
The stalemate continued before three kills from Csire put Maryland on a 9-3 run. Then, consecutive kills from Csire and an emphatic kill from Russ gave Maryland the sweep, 25-20.
Three things to know
1. Maryland’s defense stepped up. The Terps limited the Tigers to a measly .173 hitting percentage, and managed a .276 mark of their own.
2. Csire leading the way. Csire’s 18 kills were the most by any Terp in a single match this season.
3. Spreading the offense. Lilly Gunter tied her career high in assists with nine in the Terps’ third sweep of the season.
Match three: Howard
Maryland and Howard battled back-and-forth to begin the first set, but back-to-back kills from Rohrbach and a block from Russ put Maryland up 18-13. Firmly in the driver’s seat, the Terps never looked back, taking the first set, 25-17.
Maryland jumped out to a 8-4 lead to start the second set, but a 5-1 run from the Bisons evened the game at nine. Another sequence of consecutive kills from Rohrbach gave Maryland a two-point lead, which eventually grew to five as the Terps took the second set, 25-20.
The Bisons refused to go out quietly in the third set, as neither side could gain more than a three-point advantage. However, five straight points sparked an 11-4 Maryland run, which it rode to a 25-15 third set victory.
Three things to know
1. Back-to-back. Maryland swept Howard less than 24 hours after doing the same to Princeton. The Terps now have five sweeps on the season.
2. Approaching 1,000. With nine kills against the Bisons, Csire now has 986 career kills and would be the 15th player in program history to record 1,000 career kills.
3. Perfect weekend. This was the Maryland’s first undefeated weekend of the season. They went 2-1 in each of the last two weekends.