Maryland volleyball’s poor hitting results in sweep defeat to No. 16 Purdue

Photo courtesy of Brieanna Andrews/Maryland Athletics

The Boilermakers faltered to begin the opening set but settled in behind their high-powered attack. The duo of Eva Hudson and Chloe Chicoine combined for 30 kills and was too much for the Terps’ defense to handle.

Maryland volleyball’s offense didn’t fare much better. It hit just .115 and was out-killed by four. The result was a 3-0 defeat sweep as No. 16 Purdue (19-8, 13-5 Big Ten) cruised to the win to stretch its win streak to five. The loss marked the Terps’ (16-14, 6-12 Big Ten) fifth in their last six matches.

The Boilermakers were the first to pull away in the third set, going on a 4-0 run. Middle blocker Lourdes Myers sparked the run after recording a block and a kill. A second 4-0 spurt later in the set pushed the lead to six, forcing Maryland to use a second timeout.

The Terps came out of the timeout strong, going on a 4-0 run of their own to chip into the lead. They eventually tied the set at 19 after a block from Sydney Dowler and Anastasia Russ, only for kills from Hudson and Chicoine later to end the match.

The Boilermakers came into the match with much momentum after taking down No. 3 Wisconsin on Friday, but got out of the gates slow as the Terps started with a 5-0 run. The scoring spurt was mainly won at the net, with Maryland recording four early blocks.

“We figured it would be an emotional night for them after last night… we said ‘Hey let’s crack a window and make them realize they have to earn this one’,” coach Adam Hughes said. “It was who was going to make one or two more plays down the stretch and they were able to find one or two more points when it mattered most.

But Hudson came alive in the second half of the set and spoiled the Terps’ hopes of a set one win. The sophomore outside hitter delivered a kill and a service ace that sparked a 4-0 run to give Purdue the lead. She later delivered the set-sealing kill.

Chicoine also produced a high-kill outing. The freshman ended the night with 12 kills, including seven in the first-set rally.

The Boilermakers carried their first set momentum into the second and built an early lead. The duo of Hudson and Chicoine traded kills throughout the set. A run that included a service ace, two kills, and an impressive dig from Chicoine pushed the lead to six. 

Similar to set one, Maryland made a late run once Purdue reached the 24-point mark. But the Boilermakers eventually finished the job, ending a 4-0 Terps run that included an ace from Lilly Gunter and two kills from Samantha Schnitta.

“Sometimes we were playing really good volleyball and sometimes we couldn’t execute,” Gunter said. “We’re trying as a team to just get to a steady ground so that we’re not so up and down. Both teams were playing at the same level at times, it just was towards the end a matter of executing.”

Schnitta was a bright spot all night and led the Terps in kills for the second straight match. The senior pin hitter recorded 19 kills after a 16-kill outing last time out against Indiana. Schnitta didn’t receive much help from the rest of the Maryland attack — Maryland’s season leader in kills, Sam Csire, was pulled from the match after not recording a kill on 12 attacks.

The Terps fought hard in the last set — Maryland registered its most kills in the set and scored its most points of any set in the match. But Purdue’s strength was simply too much, and the Terps fell as a result.

Maryland will return home for its final two matches of the regular season after an 0-2 weekend. It will be a quick turnaround, facing Penn State on Wednesday.

Posted by Josh Panepento

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