COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Freshman outside hitter Erika Pritchard tallied 15 kills on a .500 clip as the Maryland volleyball team (18-14, 7-13 Big Ten) finished the regular season with a sweep (25-23, 25-22, 25-13) over Northwestern (14-18, 4-16) Friday evening.
“I think we executed well, and credit to my staff for coming up with a great game plan,” head coach Steve Aird said. “I though we showed a lot of heart to come back in game two. It’s always great to send the seniors out with a win.”
“Credit to Hailey and Sam, they believed in my vision and worked hard every day,” Aird added. “They’ve helped the team improve every season and I think down the road they’ll be able to look at any success this program has and say, ‘We helped build it.’”
Sophomore outside hitter Gia Milana had her seventh double-double of the season with 11 kills and 10 digs while hitting .312. The Terps hit .432 in the match, with four of six hitters notching a .500 clip or higher.
A pair of aces from Samantha Snyder helped Maryland go on a 6-1 run in the first to pull ahead 11-7. A Pritchard kill put the Terps up 19-14 before the Wildcats worked to get within one, 22-21. Milana had a pair of kills to get to set point, 24-22, and Pritchard tallied the winner, 25-23.
The Terps overcame a six-point deficit in the second set to take a 2-0 match lead. With the Wildcats ahead 17-11, Maryland used a 7-1 run to tie, 18-18. Overpass kills from Jada Gardner and Milana put the Terps at set point, 24-21, and a Wildcat attack error gave Maryland the set win, 25-22.
Maryland hit .609 in the final set with 16 kills to handled Northwestern. Murray served back-to-back aces and Samantha Drechsel and Gardner had a block to put the Terps ahead 6-3. A 6-1 run, including three Pritchard kills, put Maryland up 15-7. Drechsel posted a strong serving run to get the Terrapins ahead 21-11. Pritchard tallied two straight kills to get Maryland to match point, and she notched a solo stuff to win the set, 25-13.
Maryland hit numerous program milestones this season. The 18 wins are the most for the team since 2010, and seven conference wins are the most for the squad since joining the Big Ten. The Terrapins will learn their NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday during the Selection Show on ESPNU at 9 p.m. If the Terps earn a big, it will be their first NCAA appearance since 2005.