Maryland volleyball outside hitter Erika Pritchard was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week, the first Terp to take home the honors this year, the conference announced Monday.
The Middletown native is Maryland's first Freshman of the Week honoree since outside hitter Gia Milana earned it last season en route to a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman team. Pritchard averaged 3.6 kills and one dig per set during the final week of Maryland's season, in which the Terps split matchups against Ohio State and Northwestern.
"Erika did a great job hitting," Milana said after Friday's win over the Wildcats. "She was an animal. Over the block, every shot imaginable. I'm really, really proud of her."
Maryland's 12 underclassmen played a pivotal role in its 18-14 finish, though the Terps were the first team to miss out on the NCAA tournament Sunday. Coach Steve Aird said Sunday the snub may help motivate his side throughout the offseason to improve upon his best-ever head coaching record. Aird's squad loses just two players — middle blocker Hailey Murray and defensive specialist Samantha Higginbothem — to graduation.
Pritchard led the Big Ten with 48 service aces and was second on Maryland with 331 kills. Milana, Pritchard and opposite/outside hitter Samantha Drechsel were the Terps' top three attackers.
The No. 29 recruit in the class of 2017, Pritchard helped the Terps close her freshman season with a sweep of Northwestern, tallying 15 kills while hitting .500 and adding an ace against the Wildcats. She secured Friday's match with two kills and a solo block to end a dominant third frame, in which the Terps hit .609.