Maryland volleyball swept the Thunder Invite in Virginia this weekend to move to 9-0 on the season.
The weekend did not start off as the Terps may have hoped, as they found themselves down two sets to one against Toledo in their opening match. But Maryland managed to battle back to win the final two sets, by three points each.
Gia Milana recorded 21 kills with a staggering 51 attacks—a weekend-high. Milana also recorded 13 digs, which was second on the team to Kelsey Wicinski’s 20. Wicinski, the junior libero, leads the Big Ten in digs.
The Terps started Saturday on a better note, sweeping Virginia Tech. Maryland recorded seven blocks to the Hokies’ two, and held Virginia Tech to just a .195 hitting percentage. Senior Hailey Murray led Maryland with 14 kills. Milana recorded nine, and she also tied Wicinski with eight digs.
Later Saturday, Maryland swept Marshall in its easiest match of the weekend. The Terps only allowed 18, 14, and 12 points in their sweep, holding Marshall to hitting just .093. Erika Pritchard recorded 14 kills, which led both teams, while hitting with a .542 clip. Wicinski once again led the game with 12 digs.
Milana was named the MVP of the tournament, and rightfully so. She recorded 37 total kills and 23 total digs. Pritchard and Murray were also named to the all-tourney team, as the Terps cruised through two-thirds of the weekend after a challenging start.
Maryland moved to 9-0 on the season, with only three remaining games before Big Ten play starts.
- Milana is the team’s leader. As Maryland’s highest-rated recruit at the time of her signing, Milana needed to step up and be a leader when the Terps’ highly touted freshman class arrived this year. She has done just that. Pritchard has played well, and though this weekend wasn’t her best performance, Samantha Drechsel has also been a strong contributor. But Maryland is still going as far as Milana can take it.
- Maryland’s defense looks good. The team out-blocked its opponents 26-11 this weekend: Toledo by four, Virginia Tech by five and Marshall by six. Wicinski recorded 40 digs in the three games, proving her worth as the Terps’ libero. Defense will be the key when Maryland faces Big Ten opponents.
- When will the Terps lose? They face two ranked teams next week—No. 8 Washington and No. 19 USC—and though they have played well, it is unlikely they will end the Maryland Challenge undefeated. Maryland has not played any ranked teams, and Virginia Tech was the only team the Terps played this weekend with a winning record. Maryland probably won’t stay undefeated forever, but the Terps have set themselves up for conference play well by beating all the teams they should have to this point.