HUNTINGTON, W. Va. – Sophomore outside hitter Gia Milana knocked down 21 kills as the Maryland volleyball team (7-0) rallied to defeat Toledo (2-5) in five sets in the opening match of the Thunder Invite Friday.
The Terps rallied from down 1-0 and down 2-1 in the match to remain undefeated on the season.
Milana added 13 digs for her third double-double of the season while also hitting .314 percent. Freshman outside hitter Erika Pritchard tallied 16 kills, five service aces and three solo blocks. Senior middle blocker Hailey Murray also had double-digit kills with 11.
Maryland struggled to start the match, going down 8-1 early in the first set before Toledo increased its lead to 15-4. A strong serving run from Wicinski helped the Terps fight back to 19-14, and a Pritchard solo block put Maryland within three, 22-19. Angel Gaskin and Milana tallied kills to pull the Terrapins within one, 23-22. Following a Toledo timeout, the Rockets notched two straight points to take the first set, 25-22.
The Terps turned the tables in the second set, taking command early. Pritchard served three straight aces as Maryland went ahead 8-4. Wicinski had back-to-back aces and Gaskin had a pair of kills to push Maryland ahead, 17-7. Pritchard hit two late kills as the Terps reached 22-11, and she knocked down the set winner, 25-13, to tie the match.
Maryland led early in the third set, but Toledo retook the lead, 11-9. The Rockets continued to make runs and the Terps couldn’t fight back. A Maryland error put Toledo at set point, and they took the match lead again with a 25-16 game win.
Led by six kills from Milana, the Terps extended the match again with a fourth set win. Toledo attack errors helped the Terps to a 6-1 lead, and kills from Pritchard and Murray put Maryland up 6-11. Milana and Murray led the team offensively, and Pritchard had another ace as the Terrapins went up 23-19. Milana posted back-to-back kills to take the set, 25-22.
Samantha Higginbothem started Maryland off with a strong serving run to take a 3-1 lead in set five. Murray had three kills to help the Terps go ahead, 8-5, but Toledo was able to get within one, 9-8. Maryland took a 12-10 advantage, but the Rockets were able to tie. Murray and Samantha Drechsel combined for a block to get the Terps to match point, 14-12, and a Toledo attack error gave Maryland the comeback win.
Maryland returns to action in the Thunder Invite on Saturday. The Terps face Virginia Tech at 11 a.m. before facing host Marshall at 7 p.m.