COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Junior libero Kelsey Wicinski led the match with 15 digs as the Maryland volleyball team (11-1) fell to No. 7 Washington (10-1) in three sets (25-11, 25-19, 25-18) to close the Maryland Challenge Friday evening.
“I think Washington played about as perfect a match as you can play on the road,” head coach Steve Aird said. “They’re an elite program and they made it very difficult for us to score. I think it was a great experience for the young kids and a great lesson. We’ll learn from it as we move on to conference play next week.”
Senior middle blocker Hailey Murray and Wicinski were selected to the all-tournament team.
The Terps finished the nonconference slate with an 11-1 record, including three tournament titles and an upset win over No. 18 USC. Maryland started the season with 11 straight wins, the program’s best start to a season since 2005.
The Huskies had 16 kills and no errors in the first set as the visitors took a quick 10-5 lead. The Terps were unable to put together a run and Washington increased its lead to 18-10. The Huskies had three late service aces to take the set, 25-11.
The team stayed close early in the second set but the Huskies were able to pull ahead, 10-4. Murray notched blocks with Erika Pritchard and Angel Gaskin in the middle of the set, and Nell Drummey checked in to serve an ace. Washington reached 23-16 before the Terps went on a 4-0 run, including another Murray-Gaskin block. After a timeout, the Huskies notched two straight points to win, 25-19.
Maryland again started the set sticking close to Washington before a 4-0 run helped the Huskies to a 9-5 lead. Jada Gardner and Gia Milana combined for a block, and Gardner had a pair of late kills, but Washington took a 22-14 lead. Milana and Pritchard had late kills for the Terps, but the Huskies took the set, 25-18.
The Terps open Big Ten Conference play at No. 25 Ohio State (5-4) next Wednesday at 7 p.m.