Maryland volleyball began the season on the right foot, going 2-1 in its opening weekend. That was just a warm-up. On Friday and Saturday, the Terps went 3-0 at the Akron Invitational, defeating Akron, Stony Brook and Canisius, dropping just one set in the process.
The Terps had their third and fourth straight-set wins of the early season, recording multiple straight set victories for the second straight tournament.
Here’s a recap of the weekend:
Friday: Maryland 3, Akron 0
All three sets were closely contested, but the Terps had the upper hand. In set one, Akron went on a 5-0 lead to take an 11-8 lead. Maryland responded big, going on a 9-2 run to go up 17-13. The Terps led by as much as five at 22-17, and held control to win the set 25-22.
In set two, Akron took the early lead, and the score stayed even for the majority of the frame. Maryland went on a quick 3-0 run after being tied up at 15, and the Terps held that lead for the rest of the set to win 25-22.
Maryland had control in set three, but Akron fought back. The Terps built up an early 7-2 lead before Akron went on a 4-1 run to take a 13-12 lead. Maryland then went on a 6-2 run to build their lead to 18-15. Akron again fought back, leveling the score at 21, but the Terps closed out the set and match on a 4-1 run to win 25-22.
Erika Pritchard led the Terps on the attack, posting a double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs and a .462 hitting percentage. Samantha Burgio led Maryland with 11 digs. The Terps had a .282 hitting percentage overall, and led in all major statistical categories.
Saturday morning: Maryland 3, Stony Brook 1
Despite the 3-1 final score, the overall stats were much closer. Stony Brook had more points, kills, aces and blocks, but the Terps came out victorious. In set one, Stony Brook built an early 11-4 lead and never looked back. Maryland got as close as 17-13, but the early deficit was too much to overcome as they dropped the set, 25-17.
In set two, Stony Brook took the early lead again, leading as late as 11-9 before Maryland went on a 5-0 run to take a 14-11 lead. The Seawolves fought back to tie the score at 16, but Maryland went on a 9-3 run to end the set, winning 25-19.
Set three was back and forth. Maryland had the slight advantage early, building a 12-9 lead. Stony Brook scored six straight to pull ahead 15-12. Maryland came back with an 8-2 run to take a 20-17 lead. The Terps won the set, 25-21, and took a 2-1 set lead in the match.
In set four, Maryland benefitted from a big momentum swing. The Seawolves took the early lead again, going up 9-5. Maryland responded in a big way, going on an 11-2 run, including six straight points, to take a 16-11 lead. Stony Brook came back, closing the lead to as little as two, but the Terps prevailed, winning the set 25-21 and the match.
Pritchard again recorded a double-double, with a team-high 22 kills and 15 digs. Allegra Rivas recorded a team-high 18 digs. Overall, the Terps had a .188 hitting percentage.
Saturday afternoon: Maryland 3, Canisius 0
This was Maryland’s most dominant performance of the season. The Terps led in all major statistical categories, and recorded a .333 hitting percentage in the match. Pritchard recorded her third straight double-double, leading the team with 19 kills, 10 digs and a .514 hitting percentage. Rivas led Maryland with 14 digs.
Set one was was all Maryland. The Terps began the match on a 7-3 run and ended the match on a 7-0 run, winning the set, 25-12. Set two was closer, but Maryland was still dominant. Canisius took the lead in the match, at 10-9 after Maryland took an early 4-0 lead. However, that lead was short-lived as Maryland ended the set on a 15-6 run to win 25-16.
A hot start made all the difference in set three. Maryland got out to a 3-0 lead and never trailed in the set. After Canisius leveled the score at 11, the Terps went on a 5-1 run to take a 16-12 lead. Canisius came back and tied the set at 20, but Maryland squeezed past, finishing on a 5-3 run to win the set 25-23 and the match.
Consistency is key
The Terps limited their errors over the weekend, recording just 42 across the three matches, including only 10 against Canisius. Pritchard took over on the Maryland attack, leading the Terps in kills every match and recording 56 overall. Rivas led the Terps in digs in two of the three matches and overall with 42.
Katie Myers and Liz Twilley both played integral roles over the weekend. Myers recorded 23 kills and five digs in the three matches. Twilley recorded 20 kills in the invitational.
The Terps have an outside chance to match their 11-1 non-conference record from last year and are now riding a three-match win streak going into next weekend, when they will serve as hosts for the Maryland Invite.
Maryland will come home for the first time this season to host the Maryland Invite at Xfinity Center. The Terps welcome Colgate, South Carolina and Liberty on Friday and Saturday. The team will then travel to Temple for its last non-conference matches of the season, facing off against New Hampshire, Temple and Princeton beginning Sept. 14. Maryland’s Big Ten schedule opens at home against Rutgers on Sept. 19.