Maryland volleyball secures doubleheader sweep with two 3-0 wins in Gamecock Invitational

Outside hitter Rebekah Rath rises for a kill attempt during Maryland volleyball's 3-2 win over Howard on Sept. 2, 2019. (Gabby Baniqued/The Diamondback)

To cap a half-a-minute rally, Maryland volleyball outside hitter Rebekah Rath was set up for a spike which she successfully sent down on Appalachian State’s side of the court. Rath’s kill put the Terps up 23-13 in the third set, further solidifying their edge.

And with just two points separating Maryland from finishing off its second sweep of the day, coach Adam Hughes’ squad made sure the Mountaineers couldn’t extend the match. A kill from middle blocker Cara Lewis sealed it, ending the Terps’ Gamecock Invitational with a doubleheader sweep Saturday.

After playing in 10 sets and going 1-1 in its doubleheader last Saturday, Maryland needed only the minimum number of sets to come home with two victories on Saturday.

“It was good to be able to get two wins today and only play six sets,” Hughes said.

Saturday’s doubleheader was also the first of the season for setter Nicole Alford. Alford appeared in every set Saturday, totaling 29 assists.

“It was a really long four weeks, so I went out there and just played with joy,” Alford said.

The Terps began their day with a clean 3-0 victory over Kennesaw State — their second three-set win of the year to that point. In a bounce-back effort from Friday night’s 3-2 loss to South Carolina, Maryland never gave an inch against the Owls.

The Terps posted a .435 hitting percentage over the course of the match — their best so far this season. Leading the way was outside hitter Erika Pritchard and middle blockers Rainelle Jones and Katie Myers. The three combined for 23 kills, hitting a sharp .604.

“I think this morning’s match against Kennesaw State is a sneak peek of what we can do,” Myers said. “If we can keep playing like that, I think we’ll be really good.”

In set two, the Terps put together two different 4-0 runs en route to a 25-13 victory. They were helped by four kills from Pritchard in the set.

Hughes’ squad didn’t hold back in the third set, either. The team took the frame by a score of 25-16, sealing the 3-0 win to end a three-match streak of five-setters.

“I’m certainly proud of the way we played,” Hughes said. “We were extremely low error, and I thought that was the best all-around match we’ve played all season.”

Against Appalachian State, the Terps picked up right where they left off. Set one, which featured four kills each from Myers and Pritchard, went to Maryland 25-22.

The second set against the Mountaineers was tight early on until a 7-0 Terps run propelled them to a healthy lead. Outside hitter Emma Schriner heated up in set two, notching three kills in the Terps’ final six points.

Maryland continued to assert its dominance in the third set, and it completed the doubleheader sweep on the day. After three straight matches that went five sets, the team was determined to take care of business early on Saturday. And they did so in convincing fashion.

“They were disappointed coming up short on Friday night,” Hughes said. “But they rallied and I thought they executed extremely well this morning.”

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