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Maryland volleyball swept by No. 1 Penn State to end tough road stretch

The Terps couldn’t make a run at the nation’s top team.

maryland volleyball Gabe Fernandez/Testudo Times

Maryland volleyball lost its final regular season road game to No. 1 Penn State in straight sets Saturday night. This was the fourth consecutive loss for the Terps. All of them took place on the road against top-10 conference opponents.

The Nittany Lions earned their 25th win this season, while they’ve only lost once to Nebraska.

Gia Milana played well for the Terps. She earned 14 kills at a clip of .333 while the rest of the team was plagued with errors of all kinds. Erika Pritchard was second for the Terps with 10 kills, but she also had nine errors.

Penn State jumped out to a 6-1 lead, while Maryland made three early attack errors and on service error. Pritchard earned three kills, the Nittany Lions made an error, and Sam Drechsel earned a service ace to slow the Lions momentum, making the score 9-6. Jada Gardner scored one kill and Gia Milana scored four, but that wasn’t nearly enough. Penn State led 20-14 when Maryland called a late timeout. Maryland then made five straight errors to give the Nittany Lions the first match, 25-14.

Another error-filled beginning to the second set gave Penn State a 7-3 lead early. The Terps attacked frequently, but continued to make costly errors. They finally regained a positive clip after Pritchard and Angel Gaskin earned two kills in a row to make the game 19-15. After another Penn State point and a timeout, Milana scored three kills, only interrupted by one error by Pritchard. Maryland earned three more points off two Penn State errors and a Pritchard kill, but the Lions took the set 25-21.

The third set started closer, at 7-5 Penn State. Some Penn State errors and kills from Drechsel and Hailey Murray helped the Terps tie it up at 9-9. Another error helped the Terps take the lead at 10-9. The Maryland lead was short lived, as Penn State went on an 9-4 run, prompting another timeout. Maryland managed only two more scores before four straight errors, an ace and a final kill put the nail in the coffin, 25-16.

Maryland concluded its final road trip at 0-4, and only won a single set during that stretch. Maryland plays its final four games at home, starting Nov. 17 against Iowa.

Three things to know

  1. Maryland attacked A LOT. The Terps attacked 106 times in three sets. They had attacked 86 times through as many in Wednesday night’s game. Maryland had 28 more total attacks than Penn State, but the Lions had a clip of .256 to Maryland’s .047. The attack piled on the errors for the Terps—through two sets they had more errors than Penn State had kills.
  2. Milana’s play. Milana lead the game with 14 kills, and she only had four errors. The sophomore had to carry the team. Nine Maryland players had attack errors, four of them without any kills. Penn State had no player with more than 10 kills, but didn’t need any more with Maryland’s errors.
  3. End to the road stretch. The Terps finished the tough road trip 0-4, which made them 2-6 through their last eight games—seven of which came against ranked opponents. Maryland has four games left. All will be played at home. The Terps have played three of their final opponents before, and have a 1-2 record against them. Ultimately, the Terps may have needed to show a bit more on this road trip in order to help their postseason case.