COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Junior opposite Angel Gaskin posted a career high with 14 kills on a .476 clip to lead the Maryland volleyball team past UMBC in four sets (26-28, 25-17, 25-20, 25-18) in the Terrapins’ first match of 2017 on Friday evening.
“Hats off to UMBC, I think they played really hard and are really well coached,” head coach Steve Aird said. “I was proud of the fact that despite our team being young and dropping the first set, they found composure and were able to play well against a tough team.”
In her first career start, freshman outside hitter Erika Pritchard notched 12 kills and nine digs. Most of Maryland’s top-10 freshman class saw action in front of 1,331 fans in the Pavilion. Opposite hitter Samantha Drechsel notched seven kills while defensive specialist Samantha Burgio saw time in the back row. Outside hitter Lexi Alden played in one set and posted two blocks, including one solo.
Redshirt freshman middle blocker Katie Myers and transfer sophomore setter Samantha Snyder both started after seeing limited action in 2016. Myers tallied eight kills on a .375 clip, five kills and three digs while Snyder made 28 assists.
Pritchard posted five kills on a .500 hitting percentage and five digs as Maryland narrowly dropped the first set. The Terps started the match with four kills and a pair of blocks to build a 9-3 lead, but the Retrievers took advantage of Maryland errors to eventually tie the set, 15-15. Drechsel notched a pair of kills and blocks late in the set as the teams remained closely matched, and Maryland reached set point on a Pritchard kill at 24-22. UMBC came back to tie, and eventually took the first set, 28-26.
The Terps recovered in the second set to hit .345, led by four kills on a 1.000 clip from Gaskin. Sophomore outside hitter Gia Milana knocked down two early kills and sophomore setter Taylor Smith served as ace as Maryland took a 9-4 lead in the second set. Drechsel had a pair of kills and combined with Murray for a block as the Terps increased their advantage to 16-8. A Milana solo block pushed Maryland to a 20-14 lead, and a Pritchard-Myers block put the team at set point, 24-16. Gaskin notched a kill to take the set, 25-17.
After staying close to start the third, UMBC used a 6-0 run to push ahead, 16-10. The Terps responded with a 6-1 to pull within one, 17-11. Gaskin posted back-to-back kills as Maryland took a late lead, and the Terps tallied the final five points, including a block and kill from Milana, to take the set, 25-20.
Six Terps made kills in the fourth as Maryland closed the match with a 25-18 set win. UMBC took a 12-9 advantage before the Terrapins took advantage of Retriever errors to pull ahead, 15-12. Milana slammed down back-to-back kills late in the set, and a Drechsel kill put the Terps at match point, 24-17. A UMBC service error gave Maryland the 25-18 set win.
The Terps return to the court Saturday to compete against Northeastern at 10 a.m. and Temple at 7 p.m. on the second day of the Maryland Invite. Temple defeated Northwestern in three sets Friday.