When Maryland volleyball played No. 15 Michigan earlier this season, the Terps’ fast start helped them win the first set and put early pressure on the Wolverines.
But Michigan outside hitter Carly Skjodt, who trails just Maryland outside hitter Erika Pritchard with the most kills per set in the Big Ten, powered her team’s comeback in College Park. She hit at a .380 clip and notched 21 kills.
As the season nears its end and NCAA tournament resumes begin to take shape, the Terps’ rematch against the Wolverines on Wednesday offers a chance at a signature win. But on the road and against Skjodt, coach Adam Hughes hopes his squad can at least slow the senior attacker down.
“The thing that makes her a special player is that she’s able to score in a variety of ways,” Hughes said. “She’s got great vision, and I would say she’s one of the top five to 10 players in the conference.”
While Skjodt is a force to be reckoned with on offense, Maryland did limit her somewhat early in the last contest between the teams. The Terps held the senior mostly in check for the first two sets, but she exploded in the third and fourth with 15 kills to close the match.
One of the keys for the Terps defensively will be the performance of middle blocker Katie Myers. Myers paced Maryland with six blocks in the first meeting with the Wolverines.
The Terps will once again focus on containing Skjodt, but will likely need to diminish her influence for the full matchup if they are to pull off the road upset.
“We just have to try to limit her kills,” Myers said. “When we played them last time, she just kind of took over the match in the fourth.”
Skjodt is the most prolific hitter the Terps have faced, ranking second in the Big Ten with 4.24 kills per set. Despite having played against her once, Maryland doesn’t expect her play to be exactly the same.
“Both of us are doing some things a little bit differently this time,” Hughes said. “It’s trying to find the right balance between what worked and not out-thinking yourself.”
Skjodt is again the focal point of the Terps’ defensive gameplan. However, as Maryland learned last time out, containing her for a full match requires in-game adaptations.
“One thing I think the staff and players are aware of is we’re learning to adjust on the fly,” Hughes said.