With three of Maryland volleyball’s last four matches coming against top-ten opponents, Friday night’s matchup at Iowa was close to a must-win for the Terps if they wanted to stay on the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble.
The Hawkeyes pushed Maryland to the brink in a back-and-forth match, the Terps narrowly escaped, taking the match in five sets (25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 16-25, 16-14).
Iowa took the upper hand in the decisive fifth set, using a 4-0 run to take a 7-4 lead and forcing a Maryland timeout in the first-to-15 frame. Off the stoppage, the Terps scored four of the next five points, tying the set. Maryland wouldn’t lead until 13-12, and after trading some points, a Hawkeye attack error on match point gave the Terps the win.
Maryland got off to a quick start in the first, taking an 8-3 lead. But the Hawkeyes battled back to go up 16-14 before the Terps regained control, scoring eight of the next 10 points en route to a 25-22 set one victory.
The teams traded points in the second set until the Hawkeyes used a 5-0 run to take a 12-8 lead. While Maryland eventually came back to tie the set at 18, it never led, dropping the set, 25-22.
The Terps sprinted to a 5-0 lead in the third set and never let the Hawkeyes within three points, taking back the lead in the match with a 25-20 set victory.
As usual, the bulk of Maryland’s attack opportunities went to outside hitter Erika Pritchard. Pritchard set season-highs with 31 kills on 73 attacks.
The fourth set was Iowa; the Hawkeyes recorded four blocks, 13 kills and one error, winning the set 25-16. Maryland had nine attack errors in the frame and hit just .087.
Outside hitter Meghan Buzzerio led the Hawkeyes offense, setting a season-high with 23 kills on a .246 hitting percentage.