COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland volleyball team set a new attendance record with 1,808 fans in the XFINITY Center Pavilion as No. 10 Penn State (19-7, 11-4 Big Ten) outlasted the Terps (10-17, 2-13) in four sets on Friday evening. The Nittany Lions won by set scores of 21-15, 25-22, 25-18, 25-18.
“It was a tough match tonight against a very good team,” head coach Steve Aird said. “I thought we played hard and did some nice things, but Penn State was better tonight. I am proud of the program, and proud that so many people came out to support us. We are going to be really good in the next few years and the goal is to battle the rest of the season, develop and grow.”
The Terps broke the attendance record they set last season when Maryland hosted 1,752 fans against Illinois on Sept. 25, 2015. Friday’s attendance ranks fourth in program history for a single match. Since Aird and his staff arrived in College Park in 2014, the Terps have set six of the top-10 highest attendances in program history.
Freshman outside hitter Gia Milana led the match with 20 kills while adding 11 digs for her eighth double-double of the season. Freshman setter Taylor Smith also posted a double-double with 37 assists and a career-high 17 digs.
Penn State entered the match ranked second in the Big Ten with a .296 hitting percentage. The Terps held the Nittany Lions to a .186 clip on Friday.
Sophomore Liz Twilley, MacGregor and Milana each notched solo blocks as Maryland took the first set, 25-21. The Nittany Lions held a narrow lead early in the game before kills from Angel Gaskin and Milana started a 5-0 Maryland run as the Terps took a 14-11 lead. Gaskin posted a pair of kills to put the home team ahead 16-12, but Penn State fought back to tie it, 18-18. The Terps took the lead again, and a Milana kill and a Smith-MacGregor block increased the advantage to 23-20. Twilley sealed the set with a kill.
The Nittany Lions used a strong serving run to take a 6-2 lead in set two. Twilley and Gaskin notched kills as the Terps tried to cut the lead, but Penn State pushed ahead to an 18-12 advantage. Milana tallied a pair of kills and Megan McTigue checked into the match and served as ace as Maryland pulled within three, 19-16. The Terps used a 5-0 run to force a PSU timeout at 23-18, but the Nittany Lions notched the final two points to take the set.
The Terps stuck with Penn State to start the third set as Hailey Murray and Smith combined for Maryland’s ninth block with the visitors ahead 7-5. The Nittany Lions went on a 6-0 run to pull away 12-6. Gaskin and Milana hit down kills, but Penn State took a 19-11 lead. Twilley had a strong serving run at the end of the set, but PSU used a service ace to take the set, 25-18.
Milana posted three kills early in the fourth set as Maryland led 8-6. The teams began trading points and tying before a 3-0 Penn State run gave them a 16-13 lead. The Nittany Lions continued to work ahead, reaching set point at 24-17. MacGregor and Gaskin combined for Maryland’s 11th block, but a Maryland service error gave Penn State a 25-18 set win and the match.
The Terps end a three-match home state against Rutgers on Sunday at noon. The match will be streamed on BTN Plus.