Volleyball Goes the Distance in Win Over South Carolina
Sept. 1, 2007
RICHMOND, Va. - At the close of Thursday afternoon's practice, Maryland head coach Janice Kruger stressed the importance of picking up an early-season win against a Southeast Conference opponent. The Terrapins must have taken the talk to heart, edging the South Carolina Gamecocks (26-30, 33-31, 30-28, 21-30, 15-11) Saturday afternoon in the VCU/Third Degree Sportswear Invitational.
For the second straight match, the Terps appeared in serious trouble of leaving with a loss. Trailing two games to one, South Carolina won the fourth game and ran out to a 9-2 lead in the final frame. However, Maryland ripped off six straight points and eventually took the lead at 11-10 and held on from there.
"This is a big win for us. This is another growth opportunity that we were able to capitalize on to get the win," Kruger said. "We had strong performances all the way around. The credit goes to all of them for just fighting and going for it."
Kruger pointed out junior outside hitter Maggie Schmelzle (Cincinnati, Ohio) as one of the key reasons the Terps (4-1) were able to complete the comeback. Trailing by seven in game five, Schmelzle ignited the next three points with a kill and pair of service aces.
Maryland senior Beth Gillming (Cincinnati, Ohio) led all players with 18 kills, however it was the front-line defense of senior Jade Brown (Atlanta, Ga.) and junior Mary Beth Brown (Vienna, Va.) that stymied the Gamecocks (3-2). Both Browns set career highs in blocks. Mary Beth led the way with 11 - three solo and eight assists - with Jade right behind her with 10 - four solo and six assists.
Sophomore middle blocker Katie Usher (Vienna, Va.) continued to be an efficient threat for the Terps in the middle, registering 10 kills and three block assists on .292 hitting.
Freshman Brittney Grove (Glen Allen, Va.) continued to make the most of her court time, picking up a key kill late in the game-five comeback and playing well on the front line.
"She's just really steady and stable. She plays without any fear. She's a competitor," said Kruger of Grove.
The Terps nearly fell down 2-0, trailing 25-21 in game two before rallying for a two-point win. Gillming came through with three key kills down the stretch of that game.
The Terps finish their Richmond trip Saturday night at 7 against the host VCU Rams.