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Maryland volleyball swept by No. 10 Michigan State

The Terps couldn’t keep up with the Spartans at home.

maryland volleyball Gabe Fernandez/Testudo Times

Maryland madness didn’t get off to a great start, as Maryland volleyball struggled fell to a strong Michigan State team in straight sets. Michigan State took the sets by a score of 25-13, 25-17 and 25-17. The Terps are now 14-8 overall and 3-7 in Big Ten play.

Besides a brief stretch in the second set, the Spartans were the better team all night. They hit .418 compared to Maryland’s .090, and had five players with at least six kills. Brooke Kranda led Michigan State with 11 kills, while Gia Milana led Maryland with eight.

Erika Pritchard had two kills to give the Terps an initial 2-1 lead, but it didn’t take long for the Spartans to take over, going on a 9-1 run to take a commanding 10-3 lead. Maryland wouldn’t get closer than six for the rest of the set, and Michigan cruised to a 25-13 first-frame win.

The Spartans dominated the first set, hitting .486 compared to .135 for the Terps. Michigan State had much better passing in the first set, which allowed them to find the holes in Maryland’s defense. The Terps struggled to return throughout the first set, many times just having to pass it back over instead of setting up a chance for a strong kill.

Maryland showed some more fight in the second set, but Michigan State ended up taking the set, 25-17. The Spartans jumped out to a 12-7 lead in the set, and it looked like they were prepared to run away with the set again. The Terps had other ideas, and scored six straight points to take a 13-12 lead. That run was the first time Michigan State struggled in the match.

It wouldn’t last. The Spartans closed the set strong, going on a 13-4 run to take the second set.

In the third set, the two teams traded points and Maryland had a 5-4 lead, but like the previous two sets, Michigan State took over. The Spartans went on an 11-2 run to take a 15-7 lead and didn’t look back. The Terps put together a small rally, scoring three straight on match point, but a kill from Alyssa Chronowski gave the Spartans the win.

Three things to know

  1. Maryland really misses Kelsey Wicinski. Samantha Burgio looked better as the match went on, but the Terps really miss their starting libero. Burgio was a split-second late on a few attacks, and wasn’t able to get as strong of a first pass on service receptions. Those plays can have a domino effect on the rest of the team, and that’s exactly what happened.
  2. Michigan State’s experience showed. In terms of age, you couldn’t ask for two teams on more opposite ends of the spectrum. The Spartans started six seniors, all of whom have been playing together for three years. The Terps started four freshman and had a freshman libero, which means they’ve played together only for a few months. Michigan State was much more crisp in their attack, while Maryland struggled with passing and communication at times. The Spartans are definitely a team Maryland will look to model over the next four years.
  3. It doesn’t get easier from here. Maryland gets a rare break from ranked opponents on Wednesday against Indiana, but the Hoosiers were still competitive in a straight-set loss to the Terps last month. After that, No. 17 Purdue comes to the Xfinity Center, and then Maryland heads on the road to take on four top-10 teams.