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Maryland volleyball misses NCAA Tournament, announced as first team out

The Terps’ postseason drought will continue for at least another year.

maryland volleyball Gabe Fernandez/Testudo Times

Maryland volleyball failed to make the NCAA Tournament. The qualifying teams were announced Sunday evening on ESPNU, where the Terps were listed as No. 1 on the “First Four Out.”

The Terps finished the season at 18-14, with a 7-13 record in the Big Ten. They also earned a 10-6 record at home.

Maryland still hasn’t made the postseason since 2005, but earned its first winning season during head coach Steve Aird’s four-year tenure. Aird has stressed multiple times that he believes this is a team that will continue to get better in the Big Ten. “I still think that this is ... the worst we’re going to be for the next three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, whatever years,” he said after a loss to Ohio State last week.

Despite Maryland not making the tournament, this season was a vast improvement for the Terps. They upset two top 20 teams, and held their own at home. After Gia Milana’s freshman season last year, Aird successfully recruited more freshman to bolster the team’s depth. Samantha Drechsel and Erika Pritchard stepped into roles in the starting lineup, and both had breakout seasons.

The Terps also suffered injury. Both middle blocker Katie Myers and libero Kelsey Wicinski suffered injuries that kept them out for the remainder of the season. Samantha Burgio stepped up in the place of Wicinski as libero, and other players, like Drechsel and Hailey Murray, were called to help with the service during Myers absence.

Eight Big Ten teams—Penn State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan State, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Purdue—made the tournament. Penn State, who swept Maryland twice, earned the highest seed in the tournament. Washington and USC, with whom the Terps split during the Maryland Challenge, earned top-10 seeds.