Maryland volleyball finished up its non-conference schedule on a positive note, going 2-1 in Philadelphia at the Temple Invite this weekend.
The Terps swept both matches on Friday in straight sets against New Hampshire and Temple. On Saturday, they lost a five-setter to Princeton after going down 2-0 in the match. Maryland fought back, but came up just short.
Friday morning: Maryland 3, New Hampshire 0
The Terps took this match in straight sets, but each set was closer than the previous one.
New Hampshire had the advantage for a good majority of set one. The Wildcats never gave up the lead until Maryland pulled ahead at 15-14. New Hampshire led as late as 14-11 before the Terps went on a 14-3 scoring run to win the set, 25-17.
In set two, the Wildcats again came out strong early on, going on an 8-2 scoring run and 12-4 overall run to open the set. Maryland then went on an 8-2 run of its own to close the New Hampshire lead to 14-12. A 5-1 burst gave Maryland its first lead of the set at 17-16, and the Terps finished off the set on an 8-4 scoring run, winning 25-20.
Once again in set three, New Hampshire went on an early scoring run to cushion themselves over the Terps, but Maryland fought back. The Wildcat lead was as big as four points as late as 14-10 before Maryland went on a 15-7 run to end the set and the match, a big 6-1 scoring run after being down 16-14 being the main difference. Maryland won the set, 25-21, and the match, 3-0.
Erika Pritchard led Maryland with 14 kills and Allegra Rivas led the team with 13 digs, Samantha Burgio and Pritchard were not far behind with 11 and nine digs, respectively.
Friday evening: Maryland 3, Temple 0
Maryland came out aggressive in the first set, setting the tone for the overall match. The Terps dominated set one, getting out to an early 12-3 lead and with the help of an 8-0 scoring run, and had their largest margin of victory in a set this season, winning 25-10.
Set two was more competitive. Maryland benefited from four 3-0 scoring runs. The score remained close throughout the entire set, but those quick scoring runs made the difference as Maryland won the set, 25-20.
In set three, Maryland never let go of the lead. The Terps built a quick 8-4 lead, extending that to 16-7 after a 6-0 scoring run when they were up 10-7. Temple closed the lead back to four with an 8-2 run, but Maryland was too strong, ending the set and match with four straight points, winning the clinching frame 25-17.
Maryland was effective on the attack, with a .396 hitting percentage. Pritchard and Liz Twilley led in kills with 15 and 12, respectively. Rivas and Burgio led in digs with 17 and 10, respectively.
Saturday afternoon: Princeton 3, Maryland 2
Maryland fought back hard after going into a 2-0 hole, but that early deficit proved to be too much as the Tigers edged the Terps in the fifth set tiebreak.
Princeton had control in the first two sets. Maryland tried to keep it close, but the Tigers went on several scoring runs to distance themselves, two 3-0 runs, a 5-0 run, a 5-1 run, and a 4-0 run to end the set, winning 25-17. Maryland fell down early in set two, as Princeton came out quick, building a 13-5 lead. The Terps clawed back after being down 19-10, going on a 9-3 scoring run to close the gap at 22-19, but it was too little too late as Princeton won the set, 25-20.
Sets three and four were close, but Maryland hung on for both. In set three, Princeton held its ground against two 4-0 Maryland scoring runs. Maryland had a chance to secure the set, up 24-21, but three straight points from the Tigers forced a win-by-two situation, which Maryland did, winning 26-24. Maryland came out hot in set four, going on a 9-1 run to go up 12-6 early. Princeton closed the gap to 12-11 with a 5-0 run. Runs of 3-0 and 4-0 became the difference later in the set as Maryland tied the match up, winning set four, 25-23.
Set five was back-and-forth. Princeton started out leading 3-0. Maryland then went on a 5-1 run to take a 5-4 lead. The Tigers came back with a 5-2 run, going up 9-7. Maryland evened the score at 11 before Princeton went on a 3-1 run to get to match point at 14-12. The Terps tied the frame up, but Princeton won the next two points to win the set, 16-14, and the match, 3-2.
Maryland hit at a .115 clip, a poor attacking performance. Twilley and Pritchard led the team in kills with 16 and 14, respectively. Pritchard recorded another double-double with 13 digs as well. Rivas had a match-leading 32 digs; the next-highest totals for the Terps were Burgio and Nicole Alford with 16 and 14.
Maryland is 9-0 this season in matches decided in less than five sets. The Terps are 0-3 in five-setters. Eight of Maryland’s nine wins have been in straight-set fashion, but they have been unable to execute in five-set matches.
The last two, South Carolina and now Princeton, were heartbreakers. The Terps went down 0-2 in both, came back to tie the match at 2-2 and then lost in the fifth set.
If Maryland wants to compete in the Big Ten this season, it can’t afford to lose many more of these close battles. In such a tough conference, the Terps will only get so many chances to pick up wins, and they have to make the most of them.
Maryland opens Big Ten play, hosting Rutgers at the Xfinity Center Pavilion on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast on BTN Plus.