Ohio State looked primed to force a fourth set, down only four points late in the third, until a Maryland 6-1 run ended any comeback hopes. As the crowd rose to its feet, freshman Jonna Spohn delivered a service ace that hit the top of the net and fell on the Buckeyes’ side to secure the win.
Maryland volleyball (16-12, 6-10 Big Ten) defeated Ohio State in straight sets (10-15, 7-9 Big Ten), 3-0, snapping a three-game losing streak.
Maryland’s run late in the third set was a mix of kills and Ohio State errors. The Buckeyes committed back-to-back attack errors and a ball-handling error to ignite the spurt.
The Terps’ attack throughout the match was well-balanced, with five players contributing five or more kills. Outside hitter Erin Morrissey led the team with 12 kills while hitting .281. The redshirt junior delivered a kill that broke a 23-23 tie in the third set and secured a new career high in kills.
“It doesn’t even matter that we’re down, we’ve come back from this before and we work on this in practice all the time,” Morrissey said. “We know how to do this, we know to compete and come back from this.”
Ohio State kept sets close due to Big Ten kills leader Emily Londot’s offensive onslaught. The senior outside hitter put together 17 kills and two blocks while hitting .318. But her performance wasn’t enough to avoid the sweep defeat.
The Terps found themselves in an early hole after the Buckeyes opened the set on a 4-0 spurt — a familiar sight after Maryland allowed multiple early runs last time out against No. 2 Wisconsin. But this time the Terps fought back to eventually tie the set at 18, and they continued the run to secure a set one win.
“We talked about the runs this week in practice and just saying someone is going to have to step up in that situation and find a way to get an answer,” coach Adam Hughes said. “We had a few bonehead mistakes in some situations but you couldn’t tell the vibe or the demeanor change. That was a big impact.”
Both teams hit well in the first and kept attack errors low. Maryland excelled on the attack with 16 kills and only two attack errors. Long volleys also headlined the first set, with each side collecting over 16 digs.
Leading the defensive charge was the duo of setter Sydney Dowler and libero Lilly Gunter. Both were diving all over the court, making impressive digs that resulted in points. Dowler recorded her seventh double-double of conference play with 10 digs and 28 assists. Gunter put together a near double-double with 19 digs and eight assists.
The Terps carried their clean attack into the second set — after opening the set with a kill from Anastasia Russ, they didn’t commit an unforced error until a Sam Csire serve failed to make it over the net. Neither side was able to pull away until a Maryland 6-0 run gave it a 23-18 lead. An Ohio State attack error ended the set, putting the Terps up 2-0.
The Buckeyes struggled in the back half of the second set and committed a plethora of errors — they committed four attack errors during the Maryland. Ohio State hit just .026 with only eight kills in the set — a major downgrade from its previous set performance.
Ohio State improved in the final set with its best showing in the match. But the Terps proved to be too much to handle.
The victory marked Maryland’s first victory in November. The Terps return to the road next weekend to face Indiana and Purdue, looking to start a win streak.
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- Maryland volleyball’s poor hitting results in sweep defeat to No. 16 Purdue - November 18, 2023