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Maryland volleyball swept by No. 6 Nebraska

The Terps were never really in this one, despite limiting errors.

maryland volleyball Gabe Fernandez/Testudo Times

Maryland volleyball lost on the road to No. 6 Nebraska Wednesday night in straight sets.

Despite the Terps defeating No. 17 Purdue a little over a week ago and stealing a set against No. 8 Wisconsin last weekend, Nebraska was dominant from start to finish. Nebraska, who is the only team in the Big Ten to beat Penn State, earned its 21st win of the season and 14th in the conference.

Samantha Drechsel led the way for the Terps, with an efficient attack. She earned nine kills at a clip of .333 . The Terps as a team attacked with a clip of .081 but only made 18 errors. They simply couldn’t score against the Nebraska defense.

Nebraska earned a 5-3 lead early, but Drechsel had two impressive kills early for the Terps. The Cornhuskers then mounted a 5-1 run, where they handled the ball and attacked well, making Maryland appear out of system and prompting a timeout. The Terps couldn’t gain any momentum, as their next two points, kills from Drechsel and Pritchard, were immediately followed by service errors. Maryland made only five errors in the first, but the Nebraska attack was far too efficient, they took the first set 25-11, while attacking at a clip of .571.

Maryland got out to a 6-3 lead early in the second, thanks to a few Nebraska errors and a Pritchard block. Maryland later controlled the set 10-6, before a 8-0 run gave the Cornhuskers a four-point lead. More errors and efficient Nebraska play made it 19-13. The Terps only scored two more points—a Jada Gardener kill and a Nebraska error—and Nebraska took the second set 25-15, after Maryland lead early.

The story of the match continued into the third set. An early Cornhusker ace made it 5-1, and forced Maryland to call time. The Terps struggled to fight off the sweep. The Cornhuskers held a roughly five point lead throughout. When head coach Steve Aird called another time out later in the third, Nebraska lead 16-10. Nebraska earned match point at 24-13, but the Terps fought back. They scored only three more before the Cornhuskers took the final set, 25-16.

Maryland ultimately was never in two of the three sets, and despite attacking frequently, Nebraska showed why it’s a top 10 team.

Maryland has one game remaining on their final road trip of the season, during which they have only won one set.

Three things to know

  1. Maryland attacked a lot. The Terps had 17 more attacks than Nebraska, despite the Cornhuskers earning 13 more kills. Maryland simply couldn’t get kills, even though they limited errors in comparison to previous matches. The Cornhuskers’ service and attack simply outmatched the Terps. With more ranked teams on the horizon for the injury-riddled Maryland team, the Terps will need to get those kills they missed in future games.
  2. Samantha Drechsel stepped up. The freshman has had a string of impressive games, earning kills and at least one service ace in each of her previous games. While Drechsel’s play is something to celebrate, the work from her teammates and other starters left something to be desired. Gia Milana only had one kill through the first two sets. Drechsel finished the game with nine kills and no other player on Maryland had more than four.
  3. The trip isn’t over. Even once the Terps finish this tough road trip against Penn State on Saturday, they’ll face Nebraska in College Park again just a week later. After that, the Terps will have Ohio State, to whom they lost on the road, and Northwestern, whom they barely defeated. Even when Maryland returns to play at home again, it may be tough to end conference play on the right note.