Late Terps Rally Falls Short vs. Illinois

Maryland Athletics
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Freshman outside hitter Gia Milana posted her ninth double-double of the season as the Maryland volleyball team (11-18, 3-14 Big Ten) fell to Illinois (15-13, 8-9) in three sets on Friday evening. The Illini defeated the Terps by set scores of 25-19, 25-19, 27-25.

Milana tallied 12 kills and 11 digs vs. the Illini. Sophomore libero Kelsey Wicinski also notched 11 digs. Freshman setter Taylor Smith made 32 assists, four kills, nine digs, two service aces and one solo blocks.

Sophomore hitters Angel Gaskin and Liz Twilley each made eight kills. Senior middle blocker Ashlyn MacGregor led Maryland with two blocks.

Down 2-0 at the intermission, Maryland nearly picked the third set off the Illini. Down late in the third, the Terps used a 12-3 run to make a late rally that fell just short.

The Terps posted four early kills and Smith served an ace as the teams traded points to start the first set. A tough serving run by Samantha Higginbothem and back-to-back kills from Gaskin pushed Maryland to a 13-9 lead. Attack errors bothered the Terps in the middle of the set but Maryland held on to a 14-13 lead. Three straight kills from Illinois’ Katie Stadick gave the home team an 18-17 lead. The Illini began to take control, reaching a 22-18 advantage with their fifth block of the set. Milana tallied an ace, but Illinois closed the set with a service ace and a block at 25-19.

Maryland and Illinois played closely again to start the second set as the teams tied seven times. Four different Terps posted kills to keep Maryland within one, 12-11. After tying twice more, Illinois was able to notch three straight points to take a 16-14 lead. Maryland errors pushed the Illinois lead to 20-16. Milana tallied two late kills but the Illini reached set point, 24-18. Smith extended the game with a kill, but Illinois finished the set, 25-19.

The teams stayed close out of the break before the Illini pulled ahead 13-9. Ashlyn MacGregor, Hailey Murray and Twilley posted but Illinois pulled ahead 21-13 with a 7-2 run. The Terps began to climb back into the set, led by three kills and a Gaskin-MacGregor block to force an Illinois timeout at 21-17.A Milana kill pulled Maryland within one 23-22. The Illini reached match point at 24-22 but another Milana kill and a solo block from Smith tied the set. Abigail Bentz posted a strong service run as the Terps reached set point, 25-24. Illinois was able to tie the set and take the game, 27-25.

The Terps compete in their final road match of the season at Northwestern on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. The match will be streamed on BTN Plus.