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Maryland volleyball sweeps Rutgers for the 2nd time this season

The Terps struggled, but ultimately got the job done at the Xfinity Center Pavilion.

Courtesy of Maryland Volleyball

Maryland volleyball defeated Rutgers in straight sets on Sunday by scores of 25-16, 27-25 and 25-21. This is the Terps’ second straight-sets victory over the Scarlet Knights this season, following a 3-0 win in October.

Maryland (11-17, 3-13) showed flashes of the strong play it displayed in its first-set victory against Penn State on Friday. The Terps looked more disjointed on Sunday, but were good enough to get the job done. Maryland had trouble controlling the match against a Rutgers team that has only won one set in the Big Ten season so far.

Senior Ashlyn MacGregor recorded her 500th career block in the third set, only the third time in program history a player has reached that milestone. Sophomore Liz Twilley led the Terps with 12 kills with a .333 hitting percentage, and freshman Gia Milana was close behind with 11 kills.

Maryland’s clean hitting powered the Terps to a 25-16 first set win. While Rutgers hung around for parts, a 6-0 run to close the set distanced Maryland from the Scarlet Knights. Maryland had only one error in the set and a good attacking distribution. Twilley led the line with six kills and a .600 hitting percentage, while Milana hit .800 with four kills.

Despite four early service errors, Maryland turned it around to hit four aces in the first set. Freshman Taylor Smith’s second ace won the set for the Terps.

In the second set, Rutgers jumped to a 10-6 lead before Maryland coach Steve Aird’s timeout slowed the run. The Scarlet Knights blocked well to start the set, but you could see Maryland’s adjustment to it, with Milana utilizing a tip to drop it over Rutgers’ blockers. Maryland would come back to win the set, 27-25. Maryland had to break Rutgers’ set point before the Terps could win it with their second set point.

Rutgers again jumped to an early lead in the third, but two Milana aces gave the Terps a 15-13 lead. Rutgers would not go away, knotting the set back up at 18. After a timeout, Maryland went on a 5-1 run to regain control of the set, going on to win 25-21. Maryland struggled throughout the set, hitting .034, but that was just enough for the Terps to stay on top and bring home the win.

Three things to know:

  1. Maryland’s serving was back on track. The Terps had a difficult time against Penn State, scoring only one ace while making 11 service errors. It looked as if it could be more of the same following four early service errors, but Maryland turned it around to end the first set with four aces. The Terps finished with 13 aces and eight errors. Milana, MacGregor and Smith all had three aces each.
  2. The Terps’ attack was more evenly distributed. Against Penn State, Milana had 63 attempts, with Liz Twilley a distant second with 32 attempts. Against Rutgers, Twilley and Milana had 27 and 30, respectively. The two led the team in kills, with Twilley leading the team hitting 12 kills and Milana hitting 11.
  3. While the result was there, it was not the tidiest of matches from the Terps. Maryland’s .266 hitting percentage looks good on paper. But that percentage is inflated by the clean first set in which Maryland hit .520. Smith showed her inexperience at times as a setter, and the Terps were forced to play out of system for much of the match.