After the first weekend of the season, Maryland volleyball coach Adam Hughes said serving was one area his team needed to improve.
The Terps still had some hiccups from the service line Friday against Akron — pairing seven aces with eight service errors — but used clean hitting from outside hitter Erika Pritchard to take a straight-set victory over the Zips.
The match started with three consecutive errors, and Maryland made four service errors, four attack errors and a block error in the first frame. But the Terps also hit .324, and Akron hit just .150, helping Maryland to hold off the Zips. Akron won two straight points to pull within 24-22 and force Hughes into a timeout, but a kill by middle blocker Jada Gardner clinched the first set.
The second set followed a similar script as the first, with the teams staying within a few points of each other throughout. With the score tied at 15 in the set, the teams swapped quick 3-0 runs before Maryland grabbed momentum and pulled away to take the frame 25-22.
In the third set, Akron scored first before making five consecutive attacking errors to give the Terps a 5-1 lead. The teams traded runs throughout a tight third frame before the Terps pulled away to take the set 25-22 and the match 3-0.
Maryland struggled at the net through the first two frames, managing just one block. But the Terps front line came alive in the third set, stuffing the Zips six times.
Pritchard posted a double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs while hitting at a blistering .462 clip. Pritchard pushed the Terps over the top at the end of the match with a kill on the penultimate point and a block on match point at 24-22.
Pritchard’s big game made up for Maryland’s otherwise unspectacular hitting. No other Terp had double-digit kills and the team as a whole hit .282.
Alford continued to be the Terps main distributor, recording 34 assists for her third straight game with at least 30 assists.
The Terps are now 3-1 with all three wins coming in straight sets.