Terps Volleyball Wins VCU Invitational
Sept. 1, 2007
RICHMOND, Va. - For the third time in as many matches, the University of Maryland volleyball team was forced to go the full five games in its attempt at victory and for the third time in as many matches, the Terrapins came through late to earn a hard-fought win.
After edging Liberty on Friday and South Carolina Saturday afternoon, the Terps again staved off defeat against the host Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the final session of the VCU/Third Degree Sportswear Invitational Saturday evening, winning the invite championship 30-22, 25-30, 23-30, 30-22, 15-13 to improve to 5-1 early in the season.
En route to earning most valuable player honors, Usher recorded 43 kills and nine blocks during the weekend. More striking than the raw numbers, however, has been the efficiency of Usher's attack early in 2007. After hitting .217 a season ago, Usher is hitting an impressive .421 this season, raising her career average to .263. Brown notched 38 kills, 28 digs and 23 blocks over the weekend. Now sitting on 270 career blocks, Brown moved up to seventh on the school's all-time list. Gillming, a preseason all-ACC selection, registered a team-high 45 kills in three matches in addition to 53 digs.
After taking the first game, the Terps let one slip in game No. 2. VCU (1-5) pulled away late in the third game to go up 2-1, but the Terps gained valuable experience having to come from behind earlier against both Liberty and South Carolina and didn't panic. In the fourth game, Maryland grabbed a relatively-early seven-point lead at 16-9 and sealed the deal from there. The deciding fifth game started off in a give-and-take fashion with both sides splitting the first 14 points. The Terps then scored three in a row to build a 10-7 lead and looked to be in good shape holding match point at 14-11. However, the Rams made things interesting with consecutive points, setting up a crucial moment. Brown put the capper on the game and the tournament with her 14th kill of the match off the feed from sophomore setter Hayley Hanson (Huntington Beach, Calif.) for the game and match-winner.
Usher led the Terps with 15 kills, followed by Brown and Gillming who each had 14. Brown hit .312 for the match and added seven digs and six blocks. Gillming led the way with 18 digs while freshman libero Bethany Springer (Frederick, Md.) posted 17 and junior Maggie Schmelzle (Cincinnati, Ohio) had 11. Hanson netted 41 assists.
VCU's Ariel Newman led all players with 24 kills while teammate Elisa Kuehnel had 20.
Having started the season with six consecutive road/neutral matches, Maryland finally gets to play in front of the home fans next weekend when the Terps welcome Temple, James Madison and New Hampshire as part of the Hilton Garden Inn Greenbelt Invitational on Friday and Saturday at the Comcast Center Pavilion.