Samantha Schnitta faded toward the right sideline as she unleashed a left-handed hack against Iowa’s front row. Schnitta’s spike ricocheted off a Hawkeyes defender and zipped out of bounds for her 10th and final kill of the night, one where Maryland volleyball delivered an uber-efficient performance on the attack.
The Terps clubbed 42 putaways and committed just four unforced attack errors in their 3-0 sweep over Iowa on Saturday in Coralville, Iowa.
Schnitta and outside hitter Sam Csire were flawless for Maryland — the duo combined for 21 kills without sailing a spike out of bounds. Csire’s 11 putaways led all scorers.
“It was really cool for me and [Csire] to go without an unforced error and just continue to attack the other team and do our thing,” Schnitta said.
Both of the Terps’ wins over their last seven matches have come against the Hawkeyes, whom Maryland (15-9, 5-7 Big Ten) beat 3-1 last Saturday in College Park.
Coach Adam Hughes called the Terps’ defense solid against No.1 Nebraska’s high-powered attack the previous night, but that sturdy block arrived late to Coralville on Saturday. Iowa (8-16, 0-12 Big Ten) pelted Maryland’s defense with 10 putaways before it committed an error as the Hawkeyes scampered ahead 15-11.
The Terps tamed Iowa’s fast start by repeatedly feeding Csire on the outside. The senior made the Hawkeyes pay for an errant serve with back-to-back kills to power an 8-1 run that thrust Maryland ahead in the set for good.
Csire’s seventh kill capped her mistake-free first frame and grew her team’s lead to 22-19. And with their trusty senior setter now behind the baseline, the Terps again overwhelmed Iowa’s serve receive to seize the opening set.
A week after Maryland dumped five aces on the Hawkeyes in the first stanza, Sydney Dowler spun three straight aces to give the Terps six for the set and a 25-19 win.
“We stuck with our strategy last time to try to get the ball to dance a little bit more and maybe not worry about speed as much,” Hughes said.
Maryland’s service pressure continued to torment Iowa, which led to plenty of clean swings and another cluster of aces in the second set. Csire didn’t swing as often — she tallied one kill in the second frame — but she didn’t have to. Anastasia Russ and Eva Rohrbach powered the Terps with three putaways from the center of the front row, while Samantha Schnitta and Laila Ivey dissected the Hawkeyes from the wings.
“That helps the team … gather some confidence knowing that not everyone’s gonna have to do it by themselves,” Hughes said of Csire’s hot start.
Schnitta’s third kill put Maryland ahead 12-7 and ignited one of the Terps’ most dominant runs this season. Erin Engel slipped two aces past Iowa, which had no answer for an offensive onslaught from a Maryland attack that didn’t commit an error throughout the entire frame.
Ivey slugged three kills to complement putaways from Dowler and Rohrbach as the Terps ripped off 14 of the set’s final 15 points. Maryland steamrolled past the Hawkeyes 25-8 a night after the Terps lost by that same score in the third set against No. 1 Nebraska in Lincoln.
Maryland’s serving and defense guided the Terps ahead to begin the ensuing frame. Dowler’s sharp-drop serve was Maryland’s 11th of the match, which came amid a six-point run that Russ powered by smothering a pair of Iowa spikes.
“We did a really good job just getting enough pressure from the [endline] and playing really good defense behind it,” Hughes said.
After a Hawkeyes rally cut the Terps’ lead to 14-13, Maryland mounted one final push to propel itself to the finish. Engel set the Terps’ season-high with the team’s 12th ace, and Maryland used kills from five different scorers to outlast Iowa 25-21 and cap its October with the team’s lone straight-set victory throughout the month.