COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Playing in front of a record-setting 4,522 fans in the XFINITY Center, the Maryland volleyball team fell, 3-0 (15-25, 18-25, 14-25) to No. 4 Penn State Saturday night.
“It was a big-time environment tonight. We’re really proud of the university and community’s support, and where they’re helping us take this program,” said head coach Steve Aird. “Penn State’s playing really well as they prepare for the postseason. I obviously have a tremendous amount of respect for Russ Rose and his program and players. It’s a learning experience for this team and our young players, and I think we’re getting better and making improvements with each match.”
The Terrapins broke the program attendance record they set earlier this season after drawing 4,173 to the XFINITY main arena against Michigan State on Oct. 17. In Aird’s first season at the helm, Maryland volleyball has had four matches in the top-10 attendance in the Terps’ record book, and the team is averaging 1,625 fans per match this year.
Maryland and Penn State remained close to start the first set. The Terps took a 5-4 lead with a kill from junior outside hitter Emily Fraik before the Nittany Lions posted five straight points, including two kills from Haleigh Washington and two service aces from Megan Courtney.
The Terps continued to fight against the fourth-ranked squad, as a kill from senior outside hitter Ashleigh Crutcher brought Maryland within four points, 15-11. After the Terps called a timeout down 19-14, freshman middle blocker Hailey Murray notched a kill, but four straight points from the Nittany Lions gave them a 25-15 set one win.
Penn State took an 8-1 lead to start the second stanza. The Terps responded with a 6-0 run, led by smart serving from sophomore setter Carlotta Oggioni, to pull within two points. Maryland stayed close before a pair of kills from Micha Hancock helped the Nittany Lions pull away. A Penn State block and two service aces from Hancock allowed the team to take a 25-18 set victory.
The Terps hung around in the third set with the Nittany Lions. Sophomore middle blocker Chavi St. Hill and Murray combined for a block with Penn State leading 10-7. Hancock made another two service aces as the Nittany Lions pulled away to lead 15-6. Megan Courtney made four straight Penn State kills as the top offense in the Big Ten continued to dominate. Senior middle blocker Catie Coyle and Crutcher each made late attacks, but Hancock’s eighth service ace of the match sealed the Nittany Lions’ 3-0 match win.
The Terrapins travel for the final time in 2014 to Iowa Wednesday, Nov. 26. Maryland and the Hawkeyes will play at 5 p.m. ET on BTN Plus on BTN2Go.