No. 3 Minnesota won decisively on Wednesday against Maryland, sweeping the Terrapins 3-0 for their 15th victory in a row.
Three different Gophers players finished the game with 10 or more kills, including senior outside hitter Daly Santana, who led the match with 15.
The Gophers outhit the Terrapins .412 to .152 in the match.
“I thought our outside hitters did a nice job at the pin,” head coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “As the match went on, I thought we were better in the serve-receive game. It kind of opened everything up. It was a gritty performance.”
The Gophers won the first two sets by scores of 25-18 and 25-17 and finished the Terrapins off with a 25-14 third-set victory.
Minnesota (24-3, 16-1 Big Ten) was up 10-8 against Maryland (13-18, 3-14 Big Ten) in the third set, but the Gophers ended the match on a 15-6 run.
“I think we handled the first ball really well,” junior middle blocker Paige Tapp said. “Our passers did amazing keeping us in system. That really helped.”
The Gophers won the first set 25-18, never allowing Maryland to take the lead. Paige Tapp led Minnesota with six kills in the first set.
“Initially, it was maybe a little bit slow,” McCutcheon said. “But we got into some good rhythm, and I was proud of the way we battled until the end.”
The second set played out similarly to the first for both teams.
Maryland kept it close in the beginning, gaining its first lead of the match at 2-1, but Minnesota eventually tied it at 5-5.
The Gophers ended the set on a 5-2 run to win 25-17. The largest lead the Terrapins had in the second set was two points.
Santana had six kills and seven digs in the set. She finished the game with a .462 hitting percentage.
“I was a little more consistent in the attack,” Santana said. “I was happy I was able to help the team.”
Freshman setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson also had a strong match for Minnesota with 39 assists, which led both teams.
Seliger-Swenson also led Minnesota with 12 digs, while Santana and sophomore libero Dalianliz Rosado both had 11.
Junior middle blocker Hannah Tapp and junior outside hitter Sarah Wilhite both had 10 kills in the game.
Minnesota has now won 15 matches in a row and has lost only nine sets in those matches.
“For me, it’s always about the consistency in terms of our effort and execution,” McCutcheon said. “I think that’s one of the trademarks of our team. They just stay in there, and they battle.”