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Maryland volleyball defeats Northwestern in 4 sets at home

The Terps win back-to-back Big Ten matches for the first time this season.

Maryland volleyball Photo by Maryland Athletics

Maryland volleyball continued a successful homestand on Friday night, defeating Northwestern in a close four-set match: 25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23.

It was a combined effort on both sides of the ball on Friday. Maryland (15-10, 6-7 Big Ten) dominated on defense with 15 total blocks. Erika Pritchard led the Terps’ attack with 20 kills, Liz Twilley following with 13 and Katie Myers adding nine. Nicole Alford also had 48 assists and three kills of her own. The Terps hit .241 as a team with 55 kills, 22 attack errors and 11 service errors.

Northwestern (13-12, 3-10 Big Ten) had its fair share of problems on the attack, hitting .179 with 50 kills and 26 attack errors. Nia Robinson, Northwestern’s leading scorer, led the team with 13 kills, but also had 10 attack errors, hitting .071.

Maryland came into Friday night’s match looking to build off a 3-0 win against Iowa on Sunday. Northwestern had won three of four Big Ten matches going into Friday after losing eight straight to start the conference conference season. The Terps had lost four of six conference matches going into Friday.

Set one was a back-and-forth affair, but the Terps used a late run to take the set. After Northwestern took a 4-2 lead early, Maryland went on a 5-1 run to take a 7-5 lead, increasing that to 10-7 before Northwestern went on a 7-0 run to take a 14-10 lead. Maryland answered back with another 5-1 run to tie the match at 15-15. The frame stayed tight, with Northwestern taking an 18-17 lead, but Maryland ended the match on an 8-3 run to win the set, 25-21. The Terps hit .237 in the set to Northwestern’s .159, and Maryland had five blocks.

It looked as if Maryland was going to coast to a 2-0 match lead in set two, but Northwestern fought back from a deficit and tied the match. The Wildcats again took an early lead, this time leading at 7-5 and 10-7 before Maryland went on a 6-0 run to take a 13-10 lead. A Wildcat timeout ended up beneficial, as they went on an 8-2 run to take a 18-15 lead. Despite a Maryland comeback, Northwestern won the set, 25-23. Both attacks were more efficient in the second set, as the Terps hit .300 and the Wildcats hit .286.

The Terps were back to their winning ways in set three, getting out to an early lead and holding it. Maryland got out to a 6-1 start, extending that lead further to 13-7. Northwestern came back to tie the set at 15-15, but Maryland answered back with a 5-0 run, taking a 20-15 lead and fending off a late Wildcat charge, winning the set 25-22 to take a 2-1 match lead. Maryland didn’t click on the attack, hitting .171 in this set, but Northwestern struggled even more, hitting .042 with eight kills and seven attack errors.

Set four followed suit with the first three, being closely contested, but Maryland was able to hold the lead late, take the set and win the match. Neither team held more than a two-point lead until a 6-1 Maryland run put the Terps up 16-12, and despite several Wildcat runs to get within one, including match point, Maryland held the lead and won 25-23. The Terps’ offense bounced back to hit .265 with 14 kills and five attack errors. Northwestern hit .194 with 11 kills and four attack errors.

Maryland will finish off its weekend homestand on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET against No. 4 Illinois, to whom the Terps lost in straight sets in Champaign on Oct. 24.