After trouncing Virginia, Hofstra and Central Connecticut State last week, Maryland volleyball waltzed to an early 3-0 record on its young season.
“Proud of where they are, obviously hungry and humble is the best way I can describe it,” coach Adam Hughes said. “Thankful to be 3-0, but also hungry that we got a long way to go, especially playing in the Big Ten.”
Led offensively by outside hitter Sam Csire, the Terps dropped just one set in their first three matches. Csire clocked a team-high 38 kills last week, which earned her Maryland Invite MVP honors while teammates Milan Gomillion and Sydney Dowler took home all-tournament selections.
Maryland is looking to continue its early dominance into its next tournament, a two-day stint in Philadelphia for the Cherry and White Challenge.
The Terps open up their three game slate Friday with a 1 p.m. battle against LIU Brooklyn before taking on Temple later in the day. Maryland will then close its road trip with a Saturday showdown with Iona.
“All of them play different styles of play,” Hughes said. “When that happens a lot of times, you can’t make huge changes really. We’re early enough in the season [where] we gotta make sure we’re taking care of ourselves more than anything.”
For Hughes, expanding on his squad’s strengths and minimizing their weaknesses early in the season will be paramount in the growth and development of the team as they prepare for a grueling Big Ten schedule.
“We know what our strengths and weaknesses are,” Hughes said. “We’re trying to do that this week … really hammer down on the things that we did well and double down on those things, but also see if we can minimize some of those holes and some of those point run opportunities against us.”
While it’s still too early to pinpoint the Terps’ identity, one of Maryland’s biggest strengths thus far has been its depth. Last week against Central Connecticut State, five Terps posted five or more kills in the 3-0 rout of the Blue Devils.
For middle blocker Rainelle Jones, having confidence in her teammates has allowed the team to spread out, becoming more unpredictable for opposing teams.
“We spread the block out all the time,” Jones said. “I feel like [other teams] need to respect everyone up front and at [the] back.”
While Maryland breezed to an early undefeated start — supported by the deafening embrace of a rowdy Xfinity Center Pavilion crowd — the Terps will have a more daunting test in enemy territory this weekend.
And while Maryland’s task is a little bit taller on the road, Hughes’ squad is ready for the fight ahead.
“[This is] our first kind of test in front of a different crowd,” Hughes said. “No idea what it’ll be like, I don’t know if there’ll be a huge crowd or a little crowd but … now I’m excited to take that show on the road.”