Maryland volleyball has No. 19 Ohio State’s number. Last season, the Terps upset then-No. 12 Ohio State in straight sets. On Wednesday, Maryland upset Ohio State in five sets to earn back-to-back Big Ten wins, with set scores of 25-21, 22-25, 28-30, 25-19 and 15-12.
It was the story of the first set for Ohio State as the Buckeyes’ attack on the Terps’ first set point landed too far. Maryland took advantage of Ohio State’s sloppy first-set play to win the set 25-21. The Buckeyes were plagued by 10 attacking errors and three service errors. While outside hitter Gia Milana hit negative for the Terps, outside hitter Liz Twilley and middle blocker Hailey Murray led the Terps’ attack.
Ohio State’s Taylor Hughes leads the Buckeyes in assists with 10.44 per set, but playing in a large knee brace, the setter’s play appeared limited, notching four errors in the first set.
Ohio State found its groove early in the second set, and while the Terps worked to keep the score close, Ohio State won it 25-22. The Buckeyes kept errors down compared to the first set, and Maryland could not keep up with middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe’s seven kills and three blocks.
Maryland kept it close with Ohio State throughout the third set. The Terps continued with their trend of playing top competition tightly, and the trend of having little to show for it at the end. The Terps broke four Buckeyes set points before falling 30-28.
It was a huge time for Milana to have her first two kills of the third set, breaking two Ohio State set points, but after a Taylor Smith ace gave the Terps a set point of their own, a costly error on an attempted tip kept Maryland from a comeback win in the third set.
The tight loss of the third set led into the Terps’ strongest performance of the match, winning the fourth set 25-19. With a chance to win the match, the Buckeyes struggled with errors, with nine attacking errors and three service errors.
Maryland has been in a decisive fifth set against a top-25 opponent before this season. This time, it was different. The Terps took the set 15-12, and the match 3-2. Smith’s solo block to end the match was sweet redemption after the freshman setter’s error ended the fifth set against then-No. 16 Michigan a week ago.
Three things to know
- With Milana struggling, the Terps spread out attacking contributions. Milana’s rare negative hitting first set was supplemented by Twilley’s top performance. In the second set, Milana broke even with three kills and three errors, but it was Ashlyn MacGregor with three kills and no errors, and Angel Gaskin with four kills. To end the match, Twilley led the Terps with 13 kills and Gaskin had 10. Milana still posted nine kills despite her -.088 hitting percentage.
- Maryland had its highest number of aces in a Big Ten match this season. The eight aces proved to be huge for the Terps’ cause. Still, 11 service errors is too many. Maryland benefited from Ohio State’s 13 service errors, though.
- Liz Twilley’s comeback performance is an encouraging sign for Maryland. Twilley has struggled for the past five matches with errors and injury – she missed Oct. 19’s match against Michigan. The sophomore hitter led the Terps in set one with four kills and a .667 hitting percentage, while adding two blocks. Her strong first set carried over to a team-high 13 kills, a .290 hitting percentage and 6 blocks.