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Maryland volleyball loses in straight sets to No. 7 Minnesota

The Terps drop their first match against a ranked opponent this season.

maryland volleyball Gabe Fernandez/Testudo Times

Maryland volleyball, coming off a straight-set win against Rutgers, fell in straight sets at No. 7 Minnesota, with scores of 25-19, 25-19 and 25-18.

The Terps (10-4, 1-1 Big Ten) were led on the attack by Erika Pritchard with 11 kills, followed by Liz Twilley with eight. Allegra Rivas led all players with 23 digs. Pritchard and Nicole Alford followed with six digs of their own.

The Golden Gophers (8-2, 2-0 Big Ten) were the first ranked opponent Maryland faced this season. Maryland has been largely unsuccessful against Minnesota, a national volleyball power, since joining the Big Ten, and Saturday night was no different.

In set one, Maryland got out to an early 3-1 lead before Minnesota went on a 6-0 scoring run to go up 7-3. The Terps tied the set up 8-8 after going on a 5-1 run. Maryland went toe to toe with Minnesota for the rest of the match until the Terps took an 18-16 lead. But the Gophers went on a 9-1 run to finish the set, winning 25-19.

Minnesota started out set two on a 6-1 scoring run and never gave up the lead. The Terps got as close as down 18-16 later in the set, but the early deficit was too much to overcome as a late 7-3 scoring run put away set two for the Gophers as they won, 25-19.

Set three started out almost identical to the first two sets. Minnesota began the set on a 5-1 scoring run, and Maryland couldn’t fight back to close the Gopher lead. The Terps went on a quick run at the end of the set, but it was too little too late, as Minnesota won the set, 25-18, and the match.

Maryland returns home to the Xfinity Center Pavilion on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. ET against No. 16 Purdue.

Three things to know

1. Can you dig it? Allegra Rivas showed up on Saturday like she has the entire season, leading all players by a large margin with 23 digs. Coming into the match, Rivas led Maryland in digs with 207, almost twice as many as the closest teammate, Erika Pritchard. Her 23 on Saturday increases her season total to 230, averaging over four-and-a-half blocks a set.

2. On the attack. Erika Pritchard has evolved into Maryland’s best attacker after an excellent freshman season. Pritchard now leads the Terps by a large margin in kills with 196. Adding her 13 kills on Saturday, she now has 209 on the season, over 70 more than Liz Twilley, the next-closest Terp on the list. Pritchard averages more than 4.2 kills per set.

3. Gopher troubles. Since joining the Big Ten, Maryland has had bad luck against the Golden Gophers. Including Saturday, the Terps are 0-8 against Minnesota. Maryland has won only two sets against the Golden Gophers, a five-set loss in 2014, meaning the Terps have gone almost four years without winning a set against Minnesota.