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Maryland volleyball comes up short in 5 sets vs. Michigan State

The Spartans have now won their last six matches against the Terps, although this was a close one.

maryland volleyball Gabe Fernandez/Testudo Times

Maryland volleyball put in a valiant effort against Michigan State after going down two sets, but fell short in five at the Xfinity Center Pavilion on Friday night.

The Spartans (15-5, 3-4 Big Ten) dominated the first set 25-16 and came back to win the second set 25-20. However, Maryland (12-7, 3-4 Big Ten) fought back in the third and fourth frames, pulling out 25-22 and 25-23 victories. But Michigan State’s early surge in the fifth set was too much to overcome, as the Spartans took the match with a 15-11 win.

The Terps had a balanced attack despite the straight set loss. Erika Pritchard led with 22 kills, Liz Twilley followed with 12 kills and Katie Myers had 11 kills. On the defensive side, Allegra Rivas led with 16 digs, and Nicole Alford and Abigail Bentz followed with eight digs each. Where Maryland fell flat was its miscues—24 attack errors, 12 service errors and two blocking errors.

Despite the loss, the Terps had their best conference effort against the Spartans since 2014, winning two sets against Michigan State for the first time in Big Ten play.

Set one was all Michigan State. The Spartans got out to an early 4-1 lead and kept a lead for the rest of the match, being tied at only one point in the match. A 5-1 run gave them a 14-8 lead, which Maryland cut to 16-13 before the Spartans closed the set on a 9-3 run, winning 25-16. Michigan State had a .500 hitting percentage, 14 kills and just two attack errors in the set, and benefitting from eight Maryland attack errors. The Terps had a .111 hitting percentage in the set.

In set two, Maryland looked to be in control, but a late Michigan State run was the difference in the set. The Terps were in control early, on leading 7-4, and a 5-0 run gave Maryland a commanding 16-10 lead. However, Michigan State woke up and went on a 7-0 run to take a 20-18 lead and stayed hot to close the frame, winning 25-20. The Spartans ended the set on a 12-2 run.

Maryland righted the ship in set three. The Terps came out strong, going on a 4-0 run to take an early 6-3 lead. Michigan State evened the score at 14-14, but Maryland quickly took control, going on a 5-0 run to take a 20-15 lead. Michigan State answered with five straight to tie the score at 20-20. After the Spartans took a 23-21 lead, Maryland went on a 4-0 run to end the set, winning 25-23.

Michigan State had a sizable lead in set four, but the Terps fought back and evened the match. The score stayed tied early until 6-6, when Michigan State went on a 9-3 run to take a 15-9 lead. Maryland responded with a 4-0 scoring run to close the set to 15-13. Michigan State stayed ahead, leading 20-17, but Maryland ended the frame on an 8-3 run, including four straight points after being down 23-21 to win the set, 25-23. This set was played at an incredibly high level on offense, as Maryland posted a .405 hitting percentage and Michigan State hit .385.

Set five was too much for the Terps as Michigan State got out to a big lead early and never looked back. A 5-0 run put the Spartans in front 8-2. Maryland got back in the set with a 3-1 run to get to 9-5 and a 4-1 run to get to 13-11, but the Spartans closed out the set, winning 15-11 to take the match.

The Terps will play one more match this weekend, a Sunday matinee match against No. 13 Michigan at 1 p.m. ET.