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Maryland volleyball loses in straight sets to No. 4 Illinois

The Terps fell to the Illini for the second time in two weeks.

Maryland volleyball Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Following a crucial Friday night victory over Northwestern, Maryland volleyball fell to No. 4 Illinois on Sunday in straight sets. This match wasn’t close, with the Illini winning 25-18, 25-9 and 25-14.

It was a tough night for the Terps (15-11, 6-8 Big Ten) on both sides of the ball, hitting .071 with 27 kills and 21 attack errors. Erika Pritchard led the Terps with nine kills and seven digs, while Katie Myers and Liz Twilley posted five kills each. Nicole Alford led the team with 24 assists. Allegra Rivas also had six digs.

The Illini (21-3, 11-3 Big Ten) were clinical on offense, hitting .468 with 45 kills and eight attack errors. In set two, Illinois didn’t have an attack error. The nation’s No. 4 team also dominated on defense, shutting down Maryland’s attack thanks in big part to 11 blocks.

This was the second time in less than two weeks that the Terps and Fighting Illini faced off, as Maryland fell in straight sets in Champaign on Oct. 24. The Illini were coming off away victories at No. 9 Nebraska on Tuesday and at Ohio State on Friday and have now won seven straight matches.

Illinois started out hot early in set one and thanks to an efficient attack, coasted to a 1-0 set lead. The Illini jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Maryland fought back, getting as close at 9-8 before a 4-0 Illinois run put them in front 13-8. A 6-2 Illini run put them up 20-13, a deficit too big for Maryland to climb as Illinois won the set, 25-18. Illinois was clinical on the attack, hitting .458 with 14 kills and three attack errors. The Illini also had five blocks. Maryland hit .222 in set one.

Illinois put on a clinic in set two, dominating the Terps to take a commanding 2-0 match lead. They began the set with an early 8-2 lead, extending that to 17-6 after a 9-2 run. They ended the set on a 8-3 run to win 25-9, Maryland’s lowest point total in a set this season. Illinois’ offense was even better than in the first set, hitting .577 with 15 kills and no attack errors, including another four blocks. Maryland struggled, hitting .069 with eight kills and six attack errors.

The Terps started out closer at the beginning of set three, but Illinois quickly took the lead back and comfortably took the set and match. Maryland had an early 3-1 lead before Illinois went on a 10-1 run to take a 12-5 lead. The Terps cut it to 16-11, but Illinois closed out the match on a 9-3 run to win 25-14. Maryland’s hitting percentage in this set was negative, as the Terps hit -.071 with six kills and eight attack errors. Illinois’ lowest hitting percentage of any set in the match (.379) was still enough to cruise to victory.

Maryland will go back on the road for its next two matches, beginning on Wednesday at Michigan at 7 p.m. ET.