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Maryland volleyball holds off Iowa in crucial 5-set match

The Terps sweep the season series against the Hawkeyes and win their ninth Big Ten match.

Maryland volleyball Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland volleyball started its final weekend of the regular season on a positive note, defeating Iowa on the road in five sets: 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 16-25, 16-14.

The Terps (18-13, 9-10 Big Ten) fell victim to a plethora of attack errors after success in set one, hitting .198 overall with 30 attack errors and 68 kills. Erika Pritchard led all scorers with a career-high 31 kills, but also had 11 attack errors. Katie Myers and Liz Twilley also had 12 kills each. Pritchard recorded a double-double with 10 digs, but Allegra Rivas led the team with 23 digs. Abigail Bentz also had 13. Nicole Alford led the team with 46 assists as well.

Iowa (14-16, 6-13 Big Ten) had a better attacking day, hitting .244 with 66 kills and 24 attack errors. Meghan Buzzerio tied with Taylor Louis to lead the Hawkeyes with nine attack errors each.

Maryland had lost its last two matches coming into Friday, both at home, against No. 3 Minnesota and No. 8 Wisconsin. Iowa had lost four of its last five Big Ten matches, including two of its last three at home. Maryland’s win earns a sweep of the season series, as the Terps beat the Hawkeyes in College Park earlier this season.

The Terps began the match on a positive note, taking the first set. They jumped out to a 8-3 lead, extending that to 12-8 before Iowa came back to take a 16-14 lead. Maryland answered with an 8-2 run of its own to take a 22-18 advantage, eventually winning 25-22. Maryland hit .364 in the set with 14 kills and two attack errors, while Iowa hit .250 with 16 kills and seven errors.

Iowa jumped out to a big lead in set two and tied the match. The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 12-8 lead after keeping it close early, stretching it to 16-11. Maryland worked it all the way back to 18-18, keeping it level at 21-21 before Iowa went on a 4-1 run to end the set, winning 25-22. The Terps had a rough second set, hitting .143 with 12 kills and seven attack errors, while Iowa slightly improved, hitting .286.

Maryland commanded the third set from start to finish, taking a 2-1 match lead. The Terps took an early 5-0 lead, increasing that to 14-8, then 21-15. Iowa didn’t make a comeback until late, going on a 5-2 run to get within three at 23-20, but Maryland ended up winning, 25-20. It was a better offensive effort for Maryland in the set, hitting .192 to Iowa’s .184.

Set four was a game of runs for Iowa as the Hawkeyes tied the match again. They led 9-5 early, and an 8-2 run gave them an 18-9 lead. Maryland cut into the deficit, getting as close at 20-15 before Iowa closed out the set, winning 25-16. Iowa dominated on offense, hitting .353 with 13 kills and one attack error, while Maryland hit .087 with 13 kills and nine errors.

The Terps used a late run in set five to take the match. Iowa led 7-4 early, but a 4-1 Maryland run tied the set at 8-8. The Terps took the lead at 13-12 after a 3-0 run, having match point at 14-13 before Iowa tied it up, but Maryland took the next two points to win 16-14. Maryland had a much better final set, hitting .269 with 10 kills and three errors while Iowa hit .138 with 10 kills and six errors.

The Terps finish the regular season on Saturday night in Lincoln, Nebraska to take on No. 6 Nebraska at 8 p.m. ET. After that, they’ll wait to see if they’ve done enough to make the NCAA Tournament, with the selection show coming at 8:30 p.m. ET Sunday.