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Maryland volleyball swept by No. 6 Illinois

The attack of the Fighting Illini was too much for the Terps, who finish their road trip with a 1-2 record

Maryland volleyball Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Coming off a straight-set win at Indiana, Maryland volleyball lost in straight sets against No. 6 Illinois in Champaign. This match wasn’t close, as the Terps lost by set scores of 25-14, 25-14, 25-19.

The Terps (13-10, 4-7 Big Ten) struggled on the offensive end, hitting .055 as a team with just 25 kills and 19 attack errors. Erika Pritchard led with nine kills, Katie Myers followed with five and Rainelle Jones and Liz Twilley each had four. Nicole Alford led Maryland with 20 assists, second overall among all players. Pritchard also led with nine digs, Allegra Rivas following with seven and Hailey Rubino and Abigail Bentz tying with six digs each.

Illinois (19-3, 8-3 Big Ten), on the other hand, was dominant offensively, hitting .333 with 51 kills, more than twice that of Maryland, and 13 attack errors. Six Illini registered a kill, including Jaqueline Quade and Megan Cooney, who led all players with 12 kills each.

Maryland came into the match with a 6-3 away record, but all three losses came against ranked Big Ten opposition: Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue. Their struggles against ranked conference opponents continued on Wednesday night.

Set one was all Illinois. The Fighting Illini stormed out to an early 9-3 lead. Maryland treaded around the six-point deficit lead when a 5-0 Illinois run gave them a 22-11 lead. A 3-1 Maryland run late wasn’t enough as the Illini won the last two points of the set, winning 25-14 and taking a 1-0 match lead. Maryland hit -.032 in the set, with six kills and seven attack errors. Illinois was clinical on the attack, hitting .371 with 17 kills and four attack errors.

Set two followed very much the same narrative as set one. Illinois went up 6-1 early and a 7-0 run put the home team up 15-6. Maryland wasn’t able to cut into the lead that far, as another 4-0 Illinois run after going up 19-11 gave the Illini a 23-11 lead as they coasted to a 25-14 set win, going up 2-0 in the match. Maryland’s offense still struggled, hitting .000 with eight kills and eight attack errors. Illinois hit .364 with 15 kills and three attack errors.

Set three was the closest of the match, with Maryland leading part of the way, but Illinois fought back and took the set and match. The Terps got out to an early 3-1 lead, but a 4-0 Illinois run put the Illini up 7-4. Maryland countered with a 4-1 run, tying the set at 8-8. The set was tied as late as 11-11 before Illinois went on a 3-0 run to go up 14-11. Maryland retook the lead after a 4-0 run at 15-14 and held the lead as late as 16-15 before Illinois went on a 10-3 run to end the set, winning 25-19 and sweeping the match. Maryland had its best set on the attack in the match, hitting .167, while Illinois had its worst offensive set at .283, but the gap was still too much.

Maryland returns to the Xfinity Center Pavilion on Sunday at 1 p.m. to face Iowa. It is the first of three straight home matches, the other two being Northwestern and Illinois.