Maryland volleyball missed out on an NCAA tournament bid for the 13th year in a row, being named the third team out of the tournament on ESPNU’s broadcast Sunday night.
After being listed as the first team to miss out on the tournament last year and losing their head coach and several key players, the Terps were again on the bubble. Coach Adam Hughes, who served as Steve Aird’s assistant in College Park for four years, steered Maryland to their best season since joining the Big Ten.
But it wasn’t enough, narrowly missing postseason play once again.
The Terps matched last season’s 18-14 record. The major difference, though, was the number of conference wins. The 2018 squad compiled two more Big Ten wins than its 2017 counterpart, but Aird’s team notched two ranked wins while Hughes’ team had one.
Maryland’s win over No. 14 Michigan on Nov. 7 was the marquee moment of the season. Up to that point, the Terps were 0-6 against ranked opponents and had won just three sets in those matches. But in Ann Arbor, Maryland ran roughshod over the Wolverines for both its first ever road win over a ranked opponent and the first win at Michigan in program history.
The Terps finished eighth in the Big Ten, with all seven teams above them ranked in the AVCA Coaches top-25 and in the tournament.
San Diego and Loyola Marymount, announced on the ESPNU broadcast as the final two teams to make the 64-team field, had at least three top-50 wins each.
Maryland, meanwhile, had just one top-50 win. And while the Terps lost just once to a team in the bottom half of the conference standings — an Oct. 12 loss to Michigan State in five sets — the lack of high-level wins proved costly.
The Terps have not made the tournament since 2005, which marked the end of a stretch when Maryland played in the postseason three consecutive years.