Despite its erratic performance at the service line, Maryland volleyball prevented Sunday’s match against Navy from spiraling out of control.

The Terps frequently atoned for their mistakes right away, scoring the game’s next point after they committed a service error on 12 of 15 occasions. But Maryland’s offense, which entered Sunday averaging a proficient 13.7 kills per set, struggled to consistently find creases in the Navy defense. The Terps’ rare attacking woes amplified their litany of miscues from the service line, and Maryland failed to make enough critical plays throughout its 3-0 loss to the Midshipmen in Annapolis Sunday.

The Terps committed 16 service errors and scattered 34 kills Sunday, both season-worsts.

“Giving somebody more than five points [on service errors] per set, that’s a lot,” coach Adam Hughes said.

Maryland’s inconsistency from the end line wasn’t egregious — the Terps have committed at least 10 service errors in all but one of its six matches this season. With a 4-1 record entering Sunday, Maryland did enough on offense to reimburse itself for the free points it lended opponents via service errors.

But against the Midshipmen, the Terps’ attack never found their groove.

Sam Csire and Samantha Schnitta, Maryland’s top two attackers in 2023, both finished with their lowest kill totals of the season. The duo’s seven combined attack errors canceled out Csire’s three spikes and Schnitta’s four putaways.

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Anastasia Russ and Laila Ivey matched each other’s modest six-kill output for the team lead. Freshman Eva Rohrbach chipped in five, the second-fewest in a match over her brief six-game career. Sydney Dowler rounded out the Terps’ pedestrian offensive performance with three putaways.

“[Csire] and [Schnitta] had down days offensively and we went to some backups,” Hughes said. “I thought Laila Ricks and Sydney Bryant did a good job of at least coming off and trying to get some offense going.”

Ricks supplied three kills in her second appearance this season, while Bryant delivered Maryland a handful of big swings in back-and-forth sets. Bryant’s third spike in the second frame tied the frame at 21-21, only for the Terps to lose 25-23.

Tight sets were a common theme Sunday. The first two frames were both knotted at 23 apiece, while the third stanza saw Maryland trail 21-20. The Terps lost all three.

“I think one of our values is being resilient and competitive. But within that comes effort and execution,” Csire said. “We were still fighting, hence the close scores, but I think the execution wasn’t there, especially right from the start.”

[Eva Rohrbach displayed intelligence, confidence in first three Maryland volleyball games]

Every set could have easily flipped the other way. Maryland led 18-14 in the opening frame before Navy came back down the stretch to steal a two-point win.

The Terps crawled ahead 23-22 in the second set on Rohrbach’s putaway, only for the Midshipmen to rattle off the final three points to nab their second-straight 25-23 victory.

Ricks pulled Maryland within one point of Navy late in the third stanza, to which the Midshipmen responded with three straight spikes. Bryant’s off-target serve sealed the 25-21 set three loss.

Maryland played some of its cleanest volleyball in crunch time — Bryant’s misfire was the team’s lone service error within the last 10 points of any set Sunday. But no Terp consistently delivered the big-time swings Maryland needed to bail itself out of the pressure-packed situations it put itself into.

“It was a battle all the way,” Hughes said. “At that point, it comes down to crunch time, and we had been able to execute and had been able to score points when it mattered, but [Sunday], we weren’t able to do so.”