Maryland volleyball middle blocker Katie Myers threw both arms into the air, turned toward her teammates and celebrated as one final attempt from Michigan outside hitter Carly Skjodt landed out of bounds.
Last month, Skjodt’s 21 kills helped overcome the Terps’ fast start against the No. 15 Wolverines, rebounding to secure a four-set win in College Park. The senior attacker, who ranked second in the Big Ten in kills per set entering Wednesday’s contest, was the focal point of coach Adam Hughes’ defense this week.
So late in Maryland’s rematch against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Myers and outside hitter Emma Schriner leapt up at the net opposite Skjodt and blocked her attempt. The Wolverines attempted to recover the match point, but Skjodt’s next effort went awry, securing the Terps’ straight-sets upset win (25-20, 30-28, 25-19).
Maryland’s standout net defense prevented Michigan from finding clean attacking lanes. As the Terps compiled 13.5 blocks, they secured their first road win over a ranked opponent in program history.
Wednesday’s efforts gave Maryland (16-11, 7-8 Big Ten) a signature win on the road, significantly bolstering its NCAA tournament resume. The team has already won as many conference games as it did in 2017, with five matches still to go.
The Terps’ strong offense carried them through the first set, where they hit .351 with 17 kills and just four errors. Outside hitter Liz Twilley led the way for the Terps with six kills and no errors while middle blocker Katie Myers added four kills and three service errors in Maryland’s 25-20 victory.
Twilley ended the match with 11 kills, while Myers had eight kills without an error and four service aces.
While the Terps’ offense propelled them in the first set, it was their defense that shined in the second frame. Maryland hit just .085 in the set, but made up for the offensive shortcoming with 11 blocks, the most they have had in a single set this season while holding the Wolverines (19-7, 8-7) to a hitting percentage of -.019.
The second set went the distance and then some. The Terps had five set points, but were unable to convert until the fifth, ending the set, appropriately, with a block by middle blocker Rainelle Jones to take the frame 30-28.
Jones paced Maryland with six blocks, while libero Allegra Rivas led the Terps’ back-line defense with 24 digs. Maryland held the Wolverines to negative hitting percentages in the final two sets and and a .066 clip overall, the team’s worst single-match hitting percentage of the season by far.
The third set was just as competitive as the second, but after the Wolverines tied the score at 17, the Terps scored eight of the last 10 points. When Maryland held a 22-18 lead in the final frame, Michigan called a timeout.
Hughes gathered his team around him, giving last-minute advice as the Terps attempted to close out a program-defining win. That seemed to help Maryland give one final push. Jones recorded a block to give the Terps match point, and Skjodt’s error ended the frame, 25-19, sending Maryland’s players spilling onto the court in celebration.