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Csire shines as Maryland volleyball sweeps Michigan for first Big Ten win

Maryland beat Michigan at home for the first time ever.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

After recording 11 kills in Maryland volleyball’s four-set loss Friday night to No. 19 Purdue, senior outside hitter Sam Csire returned to form Sunday.

“Kudos to all the sets that I got … they were putting it perfect,” Csire said. “In my head, I was just like, ‘Just switch up your shots, keep them on their toes a little bit,’ and it worked out.”

The Strongsville, Ohio, native’s 15 kills led all players as the Terps took down Michigan, 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-21). The win marked Maryland’s first-ever defeat of Michigan in College Park.

“I thought the team did a really good job staying composed, and I told them after that I’m really proud,” Maryland head coach Adam Hughes said. “A lot of these guys, including myself, came here to do things that have never been done and I’m happy we crossed another one off the list.”

A team that prides itself on passing and service, Michigan had trouble in both departments. Despite coming into the match ranked fourth in the Big Ten in aces, the Wolverines recorded 13 service errors and 19 attack errors that routinely stalled any momentum they tried to generate.

The momentum was constantly in Maryland’s favor, as it only trailed Michigan three times, all of which came in the first set — with the deficit never being more than one point.

Csire’s day started early — she recorded back-to-back kills to record the first points of the match. Michigan threatened with a 5-1 run that brought it within one at 13-12, but Csire recorded four kills during a stretch of six unanswered Maryland points. The two sides battled back-and-forth, but another Michigan service error gave Maryland the first set, 25-20.

The second set started how the first set ended, with a Michigan service error. That theme continued when three more Michigan errors followed by a Laila Ivey kill put Maryland up, 19-12. Then, Maryland wrapped up a flawless 10-0 run that saw three service aces from junior setter Erin Engel — including the final point — to take the set, 25-12.

“Credit to [Engel]. She served really well,” Hughes said. “She takes pride in her work and that changes the complexion of the match, realistically. It put them in a position where they had to change the lineups.”

Having never trailed since the 15-14 mark in the first set, Maryland jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third set looking for a sweep. Looking to avoid dropping their second Big Ten match, senior outside hitter Kendall Murray’s back-to-back kills capped off a 4-0 Michigan run, but after a Maryland timeout, Ivey found the back right corner to start a 3-0 Maryland run. Two strong kills from senior middle blocker Anastasia Russ put Maryland up by three, one point away from victory.

Fittingly, Csire delivered the final kill to secure Maryland the sweep.

Three things to know

1. Maryland’s defense shined. The Terps held Michigan offense to a .146 hitting percentage, less than Michigan’s .191 average coming into the game.

Maryland also had 24 block assists to Michigan’s four. The Terps look to be well on their way to leading the Big Ten in blocks for the second straight season.

2. Aces loomed large. Maryland didn’t record a single service ace against Purdue, but against the Wolverines, it recorded seven. Samantha Schnitta and Engel recorded three each.

3. First win at home against Michigan. Sunday’s victory marked Maryland’s first-ever home victory against Michigan. Additionally, the Terps were 2-15 all-time against Michigan coming into the contest.