When Maryland volleyball lost a five-set game to Towson on Saturday, the players knew they had to regroup for an evening matchup with Georgetown.
In the loss to the Tigers, which marked the longest match of the season, the Terps came back from a 2-0 set deficit only to lose the deciding fifth frame 15-13.
Though players such as D.C. native Hailey Murray cherished the opportunity to respond against Georgetown — a program she grew up watching — others didn’t have the same personal inspiration for the second contest of the day.
But throughout that game coach Steve Aird made sure to remind his players a win over the Hoyas would give them bragging rights over the Terps’ longtime rival. Middle blocker Ashlyn MacGregor said the added incentive helped push the team to come back in all three sets and finish the weekend with a straight-set victory.
“[Aird] was telling us during the game that Maryland and Georgetown have a long history of being rivals,” MacGregor said. “It was good to be able to continue that and get a win over them.”
Aird complimented the Terps for demonstrating an edge against the Hoyas after asking them to “play with a chip on their shoulder” this past week. The Terps trailed 4-0 in the first set, 11-8 in the second set and 17-11 in the third set but won each frame.
“Georgetown is a team that competes,” Aird said. “They’ve got some pretty good athletes. We found a way to come back in all three of the games and fight, so that was good from the youngsters.”
A large reason for the Terps’ success was the play of MacGregor, who led the team with 12 kills.
Earlier in the season, MacGregor, who won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors for her blocking performance in the Maryland Invite, lamented her lack of offensive contributions.
But with a chance to clinch a winning weekend with a victory over Georgetown, she showed improvement in that area. It was also her spike that gave Maryland a match point in the final set.
MacGregor acknowledged her uptick in offensive performance came at the cost of defensive play, as she registered just three block assists against the Hoyas after averaging more than six per game to that point. In turn, the Terps recorded a season-low 7.5 team blocks against the Hoyas.
She said it would be important to find a balance between her offensive and defensive outputs going forward in order to maximize her performance level.
Murray, a middle blocker who has started alongside MacGregor for the past three seasons, also had trouble amassing blocks in the final game of the Georgetown Classic. She notched eight kills but had just three block assists.
Still, Murray was thrilled to earn a “pretty special” win over a school she grew up near. She said the Terps’ comebacks in each set showed “we’re a tough team and we’re not going to go away no matter what.”
“I grew up coming to Georgetown for different events and just being in the area,” Murray said. “I saw a lot of people I know here and there was a real homey feeling.”