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Terps can’t close out match against #16 Michigan

Freshman setter Taylor Smith had 43 assists and a career-high five blocks against Michigan.

Freshman setter Taylor Smith had 43 assists and a career-high five blocks against Michigan.

Just a few days after pushing No. 2 Nebraska in a three-set loss, the Maryland Volleyball team had some sets go their way, but despite their battle fell to No. 16 Michigan in five sets.

The match showed Maryland’s continued progression and featured more strong performances from their freshmen as Taylor Smith had 43 assists and a career-high five blocks while Gia Milana posted a new career-high 22 ills while hitting .231. They helped power Maryland to wins in the first two sets, but they could not sustain the success as they lost 21-25, 21-25, 25-18, 25-14, 18-16.

“I was really pleased with the grit that our young team showed,” head coach Steve Aird said. “That’s the No. 16 team in the country – I think they proved their talent by coming back and battling to win the match. Our kids fought hard tonight. We got young a little bit at the end of the fifth set, but they’re getting great experience. I was really proud of how they fought to the end.”

The Terps scored the first three points of the opening set and never allowed Michigan to go on a run of more than just three points on their own, which happened only once.

Michigan got three-straight points to take a 14-12 lead but the Terps out-paced the Wolverines with a 7-3 run to take a 19-17 lead. Michigan got it back to one points with a kill by Carly Skjodt, but Milana smacked back-to-back kills and was a part of a block with Smith and Ashlyn MacGregor to give Maryland their biggest-lead of the match at 22-18.

Kills by Abby Cole and Skjodt cut Maryland’s lead in half but after a Terps time out, Maryland scored three of the final four points of the set to take the lead.

And it was all Maryland to open the second set.

They scored the first six points of the second set and extended it to a 9-1 run. However, Michigan proved why they were the No. 16 team in the country and matched the Terps run to tie the set at 10-10.

Maryland did not crumble after seeing their huge lead go away. The team exchanged points for most of the set. Then, following three-straight points by Michigan to give the Wolverines a 19-18 lead, Maryland finished with hot hitting to take the second set.

The Terps got three-straight kills and a block to take a 22-19 lead. Cole scored another kill for Michigan to make it just a two-point set, but Milana sparked Maryland to the victory right after that with a kill. Maryland out-scored Michigan 7-2 at the end of the second set to put the Terps ahead 2-0 on sets.

But Maryland couldn’t close out the match. Maryland out-killed the Wolverines 16-12 in the third set, but seven errors on their end and .357 hitting from Michigan led Michigan to the set win.

Maryland responded to a four-point Michigan run with a 5-2 run of their own to cut the Wolverine’s lead down to just one point at 9-8. The scoring exchanges continued for most of the set, but the Wolverines out-scored the Terps 7-3, including the final three-points to win it.

The Terps hit well in the fourth set at just .257, but that couldn’t compare to the torrid hitting by the Wolverines 16 kills with only two errors at .483.

Three-straight points by Maryland gave them a 3-2 lead, but the Wolverines went on a 12-point run to take a 14-3 lead. Maryland settled down after that, but was in far too big of a hole to attempt a comeback. Angel Gaskin got Maryland back within seven with a kill to make it 20-13. Michigan scored five of the final six points to tie the match.

Despite squandering their 2-0 lead, Maryland controlled most of the final set, but could not get match points.

They led 13-11 after a kill by Milana. However, Michigan scored three-straight points to turn thing around to get the first match point. A service error and then a block by Megan McTigue and MacGregor turned things around again to set Maryland up for match point. The Wolverines saved it with a block. MacGregor smacked a kill to get Maryland another opportunity to set point, but three-straight points by Michigan sunk Maryland, with the final two points being errors by Maryland.

Maryland is still left searching for their first conference win of the year, but will travel to Rutgers on Saturday, a team also searching for their first conference win of the year. The Terps will return home on Wednesday to host Ohio State.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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