Maryland volleyball defeated Houston 25-9 in the second set of its match Saturday afternoon, taking a 2-0 lead over the Cougars.
The Terps (4-2) had momentum on their side as they looked to even up their weekend after a five-set loss Friday night against University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley. However, Houston came back, taking the next three sets to win the match, 3-2.
That match is a good synopsis of how most of this tournament went for the Terps as they went 1-2 in the UTSA Classic. Maryland had a 3-0 record coming into the weekend, pulling out a gritty five-set victory in its home opener against Howard on Monday night.
The Terps were at a disadvantage, getting one day to practice at home before traveling to San Antonio, where they practiced Thursday night. That limited practice and the absence of setter Nicole Alford from the lineup proved to be critical for Maryland.
Here’s a recap of the tournament.
UTRGV (4-1: 25-17, 18-25, 25-17, 22-25, 12-15)
The Terps got off to a hot 7-1 start in set one, hitting .519 with 14 kills and no attack errors, allowing the Vaqueros to get as close as 17-14 late before ending the set on a 4-0 run to take the early match lead.
Maryland was electric on the attack in their two set victories, also hitting. 360 in set three, where they used a 7-0 run to separate after being up 9-8 early on. However, in their set losses, they struggled on the attack with a combined 27 kills and 15 attack errors compared to 25 kills and two attack errors in sets one and three.
Rebekah Rath led the Terps in kills with 13 and Erika Pritchard led in digs with 15, but they were unable to contain Barbara Silva, who hit .341 with 19 kills for the Vaqueros.
The tides turned for UTRGV when Maryland took a 20-17 lead in set four, going on an 8-2 run to finish the set and tie the match. In the fifth-set tiebreaker, Maryland had a 12-11 lead late, but a 4-0 run secured the match victory for the Vaqueros.
Houston (3-4: 25-23, 25-9, 22-25, 17-25, 13-15)
It was all Maryland early on, as the team team combined for 27 kills and nine attack errors in the first two sets. Set one was back-and-forth, but a late 5-0 Maryland run put it up four and the Cougars couldn’t recover.
Houston fell flat in set two as the Terps took a big 11-2 lead early on, ending the match on a 10-3 run as Maryland hit .385 in the set. The Cougars were the worse offensive team in the match, hitting .145 to Maryland’s .170.
However, the Terps struggled in their last three sets, hitting .128, .094 and .050 respectively while Houston hit .226 and .250 in sets three and four. Houston used 5-0 and 6-0 runs to tie the match and two 3-0 runs in the fifth to win the match.
Maryland had less kills, assists and digs than the Cougars, who rode senior Katie Karbo’s 26 team-leading 26 digs. Maryland sophomore libero Allegra Rivas had 26 digs of her own for the Terps, who had three players with 10 kills or more. Erika Pritchard led the team with 17, but it wasn’t enough as a 2-0 match lead was blown.
UTSA (2-4: 19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-22)
For the second time this season, Maryland fell behind out of the gate, dropping the first set to the Roadrunners, who hit .364 with 11 kills and three attack errors.
Maryland used the attack to its advantage after the early hole, hitting .379 in set two and .333 in set three with a combined 26 kills and five attack errors, re-taking a 2-1 match lead.
A late 4-1 run in the fourth set proved to be the big difference for the Terps as they struggled on offense, hitting .229. It was back-and-forth the entire set, but Maryland got separation late and took advantage.
Erika Pritchard led the team in kills for the second straight match, hitting .293 with 20 kills. Rebekah Rath was second with 14 kills, hitting .333. Allegra Rivas was steady in the back line, leading the team with 17 digs.
Three things to know
1. Maryland failed to keep an early match lead twice. In their first two matches, Maryland took the opening set in pretty convincing fashion, 25-17 against UTRGV and 25-22 against Houston. Those leads were short-lived and after the deflating loss to Houston, the Terps failed to take the opening set against UTSA.
2. Nicole Alford’s absence has finally made an impact. The junior setter has been sidelined thus far with an injury and the lack of consistency has caused some major problems for the Terps. The trio of Samantha Snyder, Taylor Smith and Chloe Prejean splitting the assisting was not a winning formula over the weekend.
3. Katie Myers dominated at the net. Myers led the Terps in blocks during the weekend, leading the team in the UTRGV and Houston matches with 17 combined total blocks. Overall, Myers had 20 blocks for the Terps on the weekend, far and away the team leader.