Maryland volleyball could not repeat its past success over Ohio State, as the No. 19 Buckeyes defeated the Terps in straight sets in Columbus on Friday, with set scores of 19-25, 16-25, 16-25.
Wednesday, Maryland (10-14, 2-10) upset a top-20 Ohio State team for the second time in two seasons. The five-set victory was Maryland’s second straight Big Ten win of the season, too, following the win over Rutgers a week ago.
“Worst case scenario this year with Ohio State we split,” coach Steve Aird said following Wednesday’s win. “For a team that’s exceptional and a top-20 program, that’s a really good step for the young kids of the program.”
After dropping sets four and five on Wednesday, the Buckeyes made no mistake in set one on Friday, winning 25-19. Ohio State cut down its errors and established an early blocking dominance. After 10 errors in their first set on Wednesday, the Buckeyes had just three errors and middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe led with four blocks in the first set Friday.
For the second straight match, Gia Milana struggled hitting cleanly. The Terps suffered from nine errors in the first set, with Milana hitting five of them. Hailey Murray did carry over her strong Wednesday performance into Columbus, hitting five kills and a .300 hitting percentage in set one. Murray finished with nine kills.
Maryland kept the second set tight for the start. The Terps led 11-9, but Ohio State went on to win the set in dominant fashion, 25-16. Maryland hit even in both the first two sets, with seven kills to match seven errors in the second set.
Ohio State finished off the Terps with a 25-16 third set. Six Buckeye attackers hit better than .200 in the match. To contrast, Maryland hit .020 in the match. The third set was Maryland’s cleanest, with a .074 hitting percentage and five errors.
Ohio State’s Audra Appold led the line with 16 kills and had only two errors on Friday.
Three things to know:
- Megan McTigue has established herself as a service specialist. It took a while into the Big Ten season for the freshman to utilize her low, diving serve as an impact substitute. But Wednesday she had one ace, and Friday she had two. Having a specialist ready to jump into the match when needed will be an added luxury for Aird’s side. Maryland lacks depth, with plenty of injuries to point to.
- Taylor Smith’s struggles further stymied an already struggling Maryland attack. Smith’s Wednesday success was key to the upset over Ohio State, as she posted 48 assists, seven kills, three aces and four blocks, all without an error. On Friday, she was one of three Terps to hit negatively and went without a kill. It’s difficult to play on the road in the Big Ten, and everyone knew Ohio State was not going to fall over easily against the Terps at home.
- Ohio State bounced back in the blocking game. After being outblocked by the Terps 15-9 on Wednesday, a Sandbothe-led Ohio State team rebounded well at home. The Buckeyes led the Terps 10-5 in blocks. Sandbothe led Ohio State with seven blocks and added six kills.