“I think Minnesota played well today and showed they’re an elite team,” head coach Steve Aird said. “We didn’t come out ready to play in the first and second sets, but the team played a lot tougher and fought in the third. This is an unforgiving conference, and we have a young team, so we’re learning how to compete at this level.”
All but three of Maryland’s Big Ten matches this season have been against opponents ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll. Sunday’s match was the Terps’ fourth straight against a ranked foe.
Sophomore libero Kelsey Wicinski led the Terps with 10 digs. Senior middle blocker Ashlyn MacGregor notched three blocks while freshman setter Taylor Smith dished 31 assists.
MacGregor posted a solo block early in set one before the Gophers pushed ahead to a 9-4 lead. Milana served an ace and a block from Liz Twilley and MacGregor pulled within three, 13-10. Minnesota used a 5-1 run to take a 19-12 lead. Nell Drummey tallied a service ace and Milana and Twilley notched late kills before Minnesota finished the set, 25-16.
MacGregor and Milana knocked down kills but Minnesota worked ahead to an 11-5 advantage in the second set. Angel Gaskin posted a pair of kills, but two straight Gopher blocks gave the visitors a 16-8 lead. The Terps rattled off three straight kills to force a Minnesota timeout at 17-12. Hailey Murray tallied two kills late in the set, but the Gophers were able to take a 2-0 match lead with a 25-19 game win.
Milana posted nine kills in the third set as the Terps looked to extend the match. A MacGregor service ace and a Milana solo block helped Maryland take a 6-4 lead, and the Gophers called timeout with the Terps ahead 9-6. Minnesota used a 6-0 run to take a 14-11 lead before working out to a 19-14 advantage. Twilley and Milana notched kills, and a Smith service ace put Maryland within three, 21-18, and forced a Minnesota timeout. A Gaskin-MacGregor block and a Milana kill put the Terps within one, 21-20. Milana tallied two kills in the end of the set, but the Gophers took the game, 25-22.
The Terps are back home in the Pavilion on Friday to host No. 11 Penn State at 8 p.m. A limited number of tickets are still available for the match, and fans are encouraged to purchase tickets ahead of time. Men’s basketball hosts their season opener the same night and all parking lots surrounding XFINITY will require basketball permits. For more on match info, click here.