CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Outside hitters Erika Pritchard and Gia Milana each had eight kills but the Maryland volleyball team (14-6, 3-5 B1G) fell to Illinois (15-4, 6-2) in three sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-22) Saturday evening.
Senior middle blocker Hailey Murray added seven kills while hitting at a .545 clip.
Maryland led for most of the first set before errors helped Illinois climb ahead. Helped by an ace from Pritchard, the Terps went ahead 4-1 to start the match. The Illini tied at 7-7 but kills from Drechsel and Angel Gaskin put Maryland up 14-12. An overturned call on a challenge tied the set for the Illini, 17-17, and they were able to use a 6-1 run to take a 21-18 lead. Murray and Gaskin combined for a late block, but a 3-1 run sealed the set for Illinois, 25-21.
The lllini put up a 9-4 lead to start the second, but kills from Samantha Drechsel and Pritchard helped Maryland pull within three, 14-11. A late stretch of Terrapin attack errors put Illinois up 22-14. Murray posted a pair of late kills, but the home team was able to close the game, 25-18.
Out of intermission, Illinois went out to a quick 6-1 lead. Jada Gardner and Gaskin combined for a block as the Terps used a 5-2 run to pull within three, 12-9. A 4-1 run from Maryland kept the Terrapins within three, 20-17. A Murray kill and two Illini attack errors put Maryland within two, 23-21, before Illinois was able to reach match point. After a kill from Milana, the Illini finished the game, 25-22.
Junior setter Abigail Bentz posted her first double-double of the season with 11 assists and 10 digs. Freshman libero Samantha Burgio also had 10 digs while sophomore setter Samantha Snyder and Pritchard each had nine.
Maryland returns to College Park next week for a pair of tough matches. The Terps host No. 11 Wisconsin next Wednesday at 6 p.m. on the Big Ten Network before taking on No. 10 Michigan State next Saturday at 5:30 p.m.