With Maryland volleyball on the verge of sweeping No. 9 Purdue, Miami transfer Maddie Naumann helped deliver the Terps their most critical point of the day.
The defensive specialist went full-extension to prolong a back-and-forth rally with a diving dig that Laila Ivey fluttered across the net, tying the third set at 23.
Naumann’s sprawling save propelled her team to a 25-23 victory as Maryland swept the ninth-ranked Boilermakers in front of a stunned Holloway Gymnasium crowd.
The Terps claimed their first win over a ranked opponent since upending No. 2 Wisconsin last season on Sept. 24, 2021 and registered their first road win against a top-ten foe since joining the Big Ten.
“It’s a tough place to play … it’s a good crowd here,” coach Adam Hughes said. “And, you know, we respect Purdue for what they’ve been able to do — being in Elite Eights the last couple years — but I’m just proud of the team for their fight … I think it’s a good resilient win.”
After falling behind 2-0, Purdue’s defense clamped down on Maryland while Eva Hudson came alive with a five-kill barrage as the Boilermakers muscled their way to a 21-15 lead.
But Hughes’ squad would not be denied.
Sydney Dowler’s third kill of the match kickstarted a furious rally as the Terps roared back to even the frame at 21.
Purdue fought to take two of the next three points, but Ivey’s tenth kill of the contest catalyzed a 3-0 Maryland burst that buried the Boilermakers for good.
“It’s grit and scrap at that point,” Dowler said of the critical third-set rally. “It was pretty crazy … we talked a lot about that before the game, just having a lot of scrap in our play.”
The Terps’ imposing defense came alive after a one-block effort in the opening stanza, plastering 11 Purdue attacks and limiting the Boilermakers to a sub-.200 hitting percentage in all three sets.
Laila Ricks’ three blocks helped Maryland stand tall against one of the Big Ten’s most fearsome freshmen, as they bottled up Hudson to a season-low .070 hitting percentage.
“I thought that was a really good defensive effort,” Hughes said. “We had some diving defensive saves … someone who made a couple of key saves was Maddie Naumann … Milan [Gomillion] flying with her.”
After both sides traded scoring runs throughout the opening frame, an official review awarded the set’s most critical point.
Tied at 22, Ivey tattooed an attack off of two Purdue defenders, but the official ruled that Ivey had touched the net and awarded the point to the Boilermakers.
However, the officials ruled after further review that Ivey’s hand did not glance the net and gave Maryland the crucial point.
Anastasia Russ unleashed an overpowering kill on the ensuing rally, which Dowler followed up with an ace as Maryland drew first blood against the nation’s ninth-ranked team.
Dowler continued to wreak havoc in the second frame with a trio of block assists, while Ivey and Rainelle Jones each added three of their own to keep the Boilermaker offense at bay.
Maryland’s offense kept humming behind an Ivey-led attack, gashing Purdue’s block with 16 kills while hitting at a healthy .303 clip.
Ivey and Sam Csire teamed up for nine kills, while Jones, Russ and Ricks each chipped in a pair of putaways.
“I thought [Dowler] did a good job,” Hughes said. “She was a little shaky in the first five or six points but did a good job of settling in [and] distributing a really good, well-balanced offense.”
Purdue’s strongest rally came through a 7-2 run that trimmed the Terps’ lead to 15-13, but seven Maryland putaways propelled the Terps within a set of their third-consecutive road sweep.
The Terps’ offense quickly cooled off in the third frame, however, as Purdue appeared poised to push the Terps to a fourth set.
But keyed by Dowler’s putaway and two more Ivey kills, the Maryland attack regained its footing when it mattered most.
And when Ivey and Russ stepped up to wall a last-gasp Purdue attack, Maryland volleyball had locked up one of its biggest wins in recent memory.