When Maryland volleyball faced two top-10 opponents last weekend, coach Adam Hughes’ squad showed the ability to compete with such elite opponents for the first time this year.
The Terps won the first set against No. 3 Minnesota and made each set competitive while being swept by No. 7 Wisconsin, after never getting to 20 points in any set against top-10 teams earlier in the year.
On the road Saturday against No. 6 Nebraska, the Terps looked completely outmatched, falling behind early in each set and never threatening, ending the regular season with a demoralizing sweep (25-13, 25-10, 25-18).
The Cornhuskers recorded four kills and two blocks for in the first nine points of the match, setting the tone for a dominant first set. Nebraska hit .500 with four blocks and held Maryland to just seven kills on a .065 hitting percentage as the Huskers took the first set 25-13.
The second set was even more decisive, with Nebraska scoring nine of the first 10 points and holding the Terps to .043 hitting while the Huskers improved on their tremendous first-frame offense, swinging to a .542 clip in the 25-10 victory.
Outside hitter Mikaela Foecke’s 16 kills and one error led Nebraska’s attack. The Cornhuskers hit .414, their third highest percentage of the season and the second-highest allowed by Maryland this year.
No Terp reached double-digit kills or had a hitting percentage above .200. The team’s .021 hitting percentage was its lowest of the season.
The Terps hung around in the third set, even forcing the Cornhuskers to use their first timeout when a 3-0 Maryland run closed Nebraska’s lead to 15-13. But the Huskers scored the next five points to regain control, ending the match and the regular season with a 25-18 set victory.
Neither Maryland nor Nebraska are guaranteed spots in the NCAA tournament, as the Big Ten’s automatic bid went to Minnesota. While the Huskers are fairly secure in their at-large berth, the Terps are very much on the bubble with the field announced tomorrow night.