With Maryland volleyball leading 14-10 in the third set, Ohio State’s Becca Mauer recorded her fifth kill of the night. Despite a service error from Mauer on the next point, the set seemed to be up for grabs.
But the Terps squashed any hope of an Ohio State comeback with an emphatic 10-1 run to finish the match — beginning with Mauer’s service error and concluding with middle blocker Rainelle Jones’ kill — securing the sweep (27-25, 25-23, 25-12).
After leaning on its defense to upset No. 14 Michigan on Wednesday, it was Maryland’s offense that led to the defeat of the Buckeyes, hitting .333 with 40 kills while staying below 10 errors for just the third time this season and the first in Big Ten play.
“We were kind of firing on all cylinders tonight,” setter Nicole Alford said. “We executed where we needed to, so I think our offense was just really well prepared to go after the matchups that we had tonight.”
Saturday’s win gives the Terps eight conference wins, securing their best-ever Big Ten record since joining the powerhouse conference in 2014.
Neither team got off to a flying start, with each side recording two service errors in the first eight points of the match. Despite their poor start, the Terps settled into a groove, seeming to have the frame wrapped up with a 24-19 lead.
But the Buckeyes rattled off five straight points to tie the set before kills from outside hitter Liz Twilley and middle blocker Katie Myers secured the frame, 27-25.
Alford distributed the ball well in the first set, with five players tallying multiple kills and nobody registering more than 10 attacks.
“That was the gameplan, don’t try to force anything, manage the game, trust in each other,” coach Adam Hughes said. “And Nicole kind of held us together.”
The second set was also a tight affair. Neither team established a strong foothold, never building a lead larger than three points. As they did in the first set, though, the Terps staved off a late Ohio State run, taking the set, 25-23.
The Terps offense continued to hum in the second frame, with 16 kills on a .375 hitting percentage.
The third set seemed to be following the same script as the first two, with the Terps leading but not quite pulling away from the Buckeyes. But the backbreaking run to end the match distanced Maryland and led it to its best Big Ten record ever.
“In the first and second, we were able to finish it off the right way,” Hughes said. “In the third, they were able to open up a window, and I’m happy to get a sweep on the road, that’s pretty tough to do in the Big Ten.”