Indiana’s Avry Tatum lofted a knuckling serve over to a Maryland volleyball team facing a bevy of match points stacked on top of it. The Terps’ hitters crept toward the net anticipating a lob from Sydney Dowler, but the ball never came.
Instead, Maryland fumbled Tatum’s offering to the floor, a gaffe that sealed the Terps’ 3-0 loss to the Hoosiers on Saturday in College Park.
Maryland (13-5, 3-3 Big Ten) never sustained the same intensity it did during Friday night’s upset over No. 16 Minnesota. The Terps sporadically jolted the Xfinity Center Pavilion crowd with a smattering of inspiring plays, but Indiana (13-6, 3-3 Big Ten) tamed Maryland’s momentum with a 45-kill output and out-aced the Terps 8-3.
“They’re one of the best serving teams, if not in the Big Ten, in the country,” coach Adam Hughes said. “…That’s really, I think, the biggest difference in the match. They served very, very well and caused us some significant challenges.”
The Hoosiers’ serving game pestered Maryland from the outset. The Terps scurried ahead 11-8 in the first set before the conference’s most dangerous server helped Indiana flip the frame on its head.
Kaley Rammelsberg’s first kill let the Hoosiers rotate Camryn Haworth, the Big Ten’s leader in aces per set, to the endline. Haworth used her blazing left-handed serve to lash three aces past Maryland as Indiana rattled off eight straight points to seize a 16-11 advantage midway through the set.
The Terps’ attack never got going in the opening frame aside from Laila Ivey, who finished the set with five putaways. Sam Csire was benched early in the stanza a night after she belted 20 kills against No. 16 Minnesota. She never saw the court again on Saturday. Erin Morrissey stepped up with eight kills in Csire’s place, including her lone putaway in the first frame that trimmed Maryland’s disadvantage to 20-14.
The Terps finished the set with nine kills as the Hoosiers broke free and ended the stanza on a 17-7 run to strike first, 25-18.
“It was pretty clear Sam was struggling a little bit in serve receive,” Hughes said. “[Morrissey] did a good job off the bench. I give her props — I thought that was a tough place for her to come in.”
Indiana out-killed Maryland by six in the opening frame and continued to slice its way through the Terps’ block to dictate the second stanza. The Hoosiers kept Maryland scrambling with a bevy of scorers that pierced the Terps from all angles. Candella Alonso-Corcelles laced five kills, Rammelsberg pummeled four from the middle and Haworth chipped in a trio.
Savannah Kjolhede spiked her only two kills of the set during an early 5-1 burst that provided Indiana all the cushion it needed to keep Maryland away. With Csire out, the Terps leaned on a cluster of putaways from Morrissey but could never ignite the game-changing surge it needed.
Down 17-14, Maryland found a spark when Laila Ricks punctuated a back-and-forth rally with an emphatic block that elicited a rowdy cheer from the Terps’ crowd and a Hoosiers timeout. But Indiana’s second 5-1 surge of the set fizzled Maryland’s momentum, and the Terps soon found themselves on the wrong end of a 25-19 decision after Samantha Schnitta’s spike sailed beyond the endline.
“I thought they just did a better job doing … the little details probably cleaner than we were,” Hughes said.
Maryland steadied itself against the Hoosiers’ diverse attack as it aimed to fend off a sweep, but Indiana scooted around the Terps in multiple ways as the set closed.
Kjolhede stymied Schnitta’s attack before she marched behind the endline and spun a critical ace that boosted the Hoosiers’ lead to 19-16. Maryland’s deficit grew to four when Lilly Gunter gifted Indiana another vital point on a service error, the penultimate blunder to Maryland’s sobering Saturday night.