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Maryland volleyball weekend preview: Maryland Tournament

The Terps play their first matches at home just two weeks out from conference play.

Maryland hosts its first home games of the year this weekend.
Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

After going 2-1 for the second straight weekend at the Kristen Dickmann Invitational, Maryland volleyball (4-2) will play its first home match of the season this weekend in the Maryland Tournament. The Terps will host Coastal Carolina at 6 p.m. on Friday and Princeton at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. They will then travel to D.C. to take on Howard at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (2-4, 0-0 Sun Belt)

2022 record: 17-13, 9-7 Sun Belt

Head Coach Jozsef Forman has turned Coastal Carolina into a successful volleyball program during his 12-year tenure. Since being named head coach in 2012, the three-time conference coach of the year has brought the Chanticleers five regular-season conference titles, four conference tournament titles and four appearances in the NCAA Tournament. From 2014 to 2017, Coastal Carolina won four straight conference titles as both a member of the Big South and the Sun Belt. Despite its questionable record early, this program knows how to win.

Player to watch

Jalyn Stout, freshman setter, No. 7 — Stout came to Coastal Carolina as a two-time Florida Miss Volleyball winner — an award that recognizes the best high school volleyball player in the state. Despite being a setter, Stout currently leads the Chanticleers with 85 kills. She is also second on the team in assists (92) and digs (69) and fourth in total blocks (7).

Princeton Tigers (2-1, 0-0 Ivey League)

2022 record: 21-4, 13-1 Ivey League

Head coach Sabrina King is in her ninth year at the helm of Princeton’s volleyball program. The three-time Ivy League Coach of the Year has finished first in the conference standings in five of the last seven years, to go along with three trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Player to watch

Sydney Draper, freshman setter, No. 19 — Draper was just named Ivy League Rookie of the Week after accumulating 99 assists in three games. She has started in every match thus far and will be a focal point of Tigers’ offense.

Howard Bison (3-3, 0-0 MEAC)

2022 record: 20-10, 12-2 MEAC

Like the other schools facing Maryland this week, head coach Shaun Kupferberg has turned Howard into a perennial Mid-Eastern Athletic contender. Kupferberg led Howard to five straight conference championships from 2015-2019, during which he was a three-time MEAC Coach of the Year winner. Kupferbeg has coached over two dozen All-MEAC selections and has taken the Bison to the NCAA Tournament six times.

Player to watch

Rya McKinnon, sophomore outside hitter, No. 9 — Fresh off of winning AVCA East Region Freshman of the Year and MEAC Rookie of the Year, McKinnon is looking to improve in her second season the Bison. McKinnon led the MEAC in kills per set last season (3.37) and has upped her production to 4.36, which is second in the MEAC and top-30 in the NCAA. Her 109 kills are seventh in the country and 45 more than her next closest teammate.

Three things to watch

1. Toughest competition yet. This is the first time this season that all three of Maryland’s weekend opponents had winning records last year. Coastal Carolina (17-13), Princeton (21-4) and Howard (20-10) are all led by three-time conference coach of the year winners. Maryland may have the best record of these teams, but it will be seriously tested this weekend.

2. Blocking. The Terps pride themselves on their blocking, leading the Big Ten for three consecutive years, with Anastasia Russ leading the NCAA in total blocks last season. Maryland had three players finish in the top 10 in blocks in the Big Ten last year, but currently have none.

3. Home cooking. This weekend marks the first time that Maryland will play in front of its home fans in 2023. The Terps have only had one winning record at home since 2018, when they went 10-6 there in 2021. If they want to make noise in the Big Ten, the Terps need to defend their home court.