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Maryland volleyball falls to Purdue in 5 sets

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The Terps lost to the Boilermakers for the second time this season in the first leg of their last homestand.

Courtesy of Maryland Volleyball

Maryland volleyball lost to Purdue in five sets Wednesday night, its second defeat at the hands of the Boilermakers this season. The Terps fell with set scores of 18-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-22, 9-15.

Similar to Maryland’s away loss at the beginning of November, the Terps stayed competitive at times in both matches, but lacked the edge to upset a Purdue team that received votes for the top 25. The loss ensures the Terps will miss out on the chance to tie last season’s Big Ten win total of five, and marks their sixth loss in seven games.

Hailey Murray led the Terps with 15 kills, and Liz Twilley and Gia Milana were close behind with 14 and 12, respectively. Angel Gaskin led the Terps with four total blocks.

Maryland volleyball dropped set one, 25-18, after leading for most of the early goings. Purdue grabbed its first lead at the 16-15 mark, and pushed the set out of Maryland’s reach with a 6-0 run. Twilley continued Maryland’s early success, finishing the set with five kills.

But Purdue stayed close, playing clean volleyball and taking advantage when the Terps turned sloppy. Purdue finished without an error, while Maryland struggled down the stretch with six errors, including three service errors. Even with those struggles, the Terps finished hitting .293.

Purdue had its own error issues in set two, en route to a 26-24 Terps win. Maryland tied the second set after chasing the Boilermakers at 18 from Gia Milana’s ace, and a Purdue error (one of seven in the set) put the Terps up 19-18. But Maryland needed a little bit of luck to go its way in the set,

First, Milana mishit a dig, but the ball found a spot in the middle of Purdue’s defense for a point. Then, Nell Drummey’s diving one-handed lunge stayed in play, and then landed out of reach of two diving Purdue players.

Purdue came out of the break with errors under control. With it, the Boilermakers put on a dominating third set performance to win 25-17. Purdue went on an 10-2 run to distance themselves from the Terps, but Maryland fought its way back in it with its own 6-2 run, trimming the lead to 19-16 before Purdue put the set away.

Maryland made Purdue pay for its errors, going on a 6-0 run to grab a 14-12 lead in set four. During that run, Purdue had four attacking errors. That’s to take nothing away from the Terps, whose good serving kept them in the set despite a slow start offensively. The Terps went on to win the set 25-22.

Purdue snuck out of College Park with a 15-9 fifth-set victory. The Boilermakers blocked well to close the game, and the Terps struggled to break up a 5-0 Purdue run that put them ahead 11-7.

Three things to know:

  1. Maryland’s service game had its ups and downs. The three aces in the second set were crucial for the Terps’ 26-24 win. Three more aces helped Maryland snag set four. But the Terps did have three or more service errors in their first four sets, plus another two in set five, to total 15. Megan McTigue impressed off the bench with serves. The freshman had one ace, but four of her serves caused Purdue a lot of problems.
  2. Milana is still the go-to hitter, but others are stepping up. It’s no secret who the Terps look for most on attacks. But on Wednesday, Milana actually didn’t lead the team in attempts. That honor belonged to Liz Twilley, who had 43 to Milana’s 42. As Milana’s earned notoriety in the conference, other Terps have stepped up to counter opponents’ increased focus on her. Murray and Twilley helped lead Maryland’s attack, hitting 15 and 14 kills, respectively. Milana still hit 12 kills in what can be considered an off night for the outside hitter.
  3. Maryland dropped another fifth set. The Terps have been there before, in crucial fifth set scenarios. Again, Maryland did not have enough to split the season series with Purdue in a fifth set that got away from the Terps.