Defense Keys Terps Comeback Over UMKC

Maryland Athletics
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COLLEGE PARK, Md.   Behind a dominate defensive effort, the Maryland volleyball team rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat UMKC in five sets Friday night at Comcast Pavilion in the Terps’ opener of the Maryland Invitational.

Maryland (3-1) finished with 17 blocks, 13 of which came in the final three sets. Ashlyn MacGregor led the effort with one solo block and seven assisted. Adreené Elliott had one solo block and five assisted.

Ashleigh Crutcher led the attack with a match-high 18 kills. Mary Cushman had 15 and Elliott added 14 with a .500 hitting percentage. Julia Anderson and Amy Dion rotated at setter and finished up with 29 and 23 assists, respectively.

Along the backline, Sarah Harper turned in a superb performance totaling a career-best 34 digs, while adding four assists.

After dropping the opening two sets, Maryland got one back in the third. The Terps and UMKC (1-4) went back-and-forth to begin the frame. But the Terps seized control midway through after the Kangaroos tied the set at 12.

A kill by Elliott ignited a 10-2 Maryland run, which was capped by Dion’s second service ace of the match. The Kangaroos pulled within three at 23-20, but Crutcher scored two of the next three points to send the match to a fourth set.

The Terps won the fourth set behind a strong defensive performance. Maryland totaled nine blocks in the frame including three of their final five points to win the set, 25-13.

Leading 12-11, Maryland scored seven of the next eight points to take control of the set. MacGregor teamed with Cushman and Elliott on two blocks during the run, and Crutcher capped it with her 14th kill of the match.

Down the stretch, Cushman and Emily Fraik added a kill apiece, while Dion tallied her third service ace, and two consecutive blocks, one by Fraik and one by Cushman and MacGregor, closed out the set.

Maryland scored the first four points of the final set and did not allow the Kangaroos to recover with Crutcher sealing the win with a block and a kill.

In the first set, the two teams traded the opening points before Maryland used a 5-1 run to pull ahead 16-14. The Terps run was punctuated by two kills from Cushman and a block by Fraik and MacGregor. Back-to-back kills by Ashleigh Crutcher increased Maryland’s lead to 18-15 before the Kangaroos mounted a comeback.

UMKC scored seven of the next 10 points to take a 22-21 lead. The Kangaroos seized the set and scored the next three points to take the opening frame.

The second set followed a similar script to the first with the Kangaroos grabbing the late momentum to win the set. The teams again exchanged points to start with neither squad earning a lead larger than two until the Terps gained a 17-14 advantage behind another Fraik and MacGregor block and two UMKC errors.

Maryland was unable to hold the lead as the Kangaroos tied the set at 17 and 19. Each time the Terps responded and took at 22-20 lead after an Elliott kill.

Once again, UMKC executed late in the set and scored five of the last six points to take a 2-0 lead into the break.

The Maryland Invitational continues tomorrow as the Terps take on LIU Brooklyn at 1:30 p.m. and close the tournament with Penn at 7:30 p.m.

– Maryland –