Terps Challenge #5 Minnesota in Three

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#5 Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – Sophomore outside hitter Gia Milana notched her fifth double-double of the season as the Maryland volleyball team (16-9, 5-8 Big Ten) pushed No. 5 Minnesota (22-2, 11-2) in three sets (25-23, 25-23, 25-21) Friday evening.

“This is the start of a tough four-game stretch for us, and I thought we competed all night,” haed coach Steve Aird said. “We had opportunities, but against an excellent opponent you have to be really clean. Minnesota made plays when it mattered.”

Milana led the Terps with 14 kills and 11 digs. Freshman outside Erika Pritchard tallied 10 kills and senior middle blocker Hailey Murray had seven on a .500 clip. The Terrapins held their own offensively as they had 43 kills on a .222 hitting percentage while the Gophers had 41 kills on a .232 clip.

Murray paced Maryland’s defense at the net with five blocks. Milana led the Terps with two service aces.

The teams traded runs and tied five times to start the match until Minnesota went ahead 13-11. The Gophers increased their lead to 19-14 but a 5-1 Terp run, including kills from Milana and Gaskin, pulled Maryland within one, 21-20. Murray posted a solo block and Milana had an ace late in the set, but Minnesota reached set point on a Terrapin service error. Drechsel extended the set with a kill, but the Gophers ended it with a kill of their own, 25-23.

The Terps again trailed to start the second, but held within a few points of the Gophers. A 5-1 run, including a Gaskin solo block, pulled Maryland within one, 13-12. A 3-0 run – including a Milana kill, a Murray kill and a Milana-Murray block – again put the Terrapins within one, 17-16. A 5-1 run capped by a Milana ace gave Maryland a 21-19 lead. The Gophers retook the advantage, but Pritchard had one more kill to tie for the seventh time in the game, 23-23. Two straight points gave Minnesota a 25-23 set win.

Attach errors plagued both squads in the third as the Terps and Gophers each hit under .200. Drechsel had an early ace but Maryland fell behind 8-4. The Terrapins fought back to push within two points, 17-15, and Murray tallied an overpass kill to keep the Minnesota lead at two, 19-17. A pair of Gopher attack errors put the Terps within one, 22-21, but three straight Minnesota points finished the set, 25-21. 

The Terps are back in action at No. 9 Wisconsin on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. Maryland’s match vs. Minnesota kicked off a four-match road trip against top-10 opponents.