Volleyball Opens ACC Play Saturday at Boston College
Sept. 12, 2007
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland volleyball team currently sits alone atop the Atlantic Coast Conference standings at 8-1and it will try to stay there throughout the season, beginning with its first league match Saturday afternoon at Boston College.
Coming off six consecutive victories, the Terps will get their first taste of ACC action against the Eagles (6-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
With the elimination of a conference tournament following ACC expansion two seasons ago, every league match is that much more important, considering only the first-place finisher receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"The whole season is our conference tournament, now. You really can't afford to have any letdowns. You have to be ready to play every match," Maryland head coach Janice Kruger said.
The Eagles come into Saturday's match on a hot streak of their own, having won six of their last seven matches after losing their first three of the season.
The Eagles are strong on the front line with senior outside hitter Kelsey Johnson and freshman middle hitter Audrey Eichler. Eichler, the ACC player of the week last week, is eighth in the conference in hitting percentage (.345) while Johnson is tied for seventh in kills with 3.5 per game. As a team, the Eagles are fourth in the league in hitting percentage at .237.
The match could very well be decided by how well the Terps' front-line defense holds off B.C.'s attack.
Maryland boasts the best defense in the league, holding its opponents to a meager .128 hitting and ranks second in blocks at 3.17 a game.
Maryland's duo of senior Jade Brown (Atlanta, Ga.) and junior Mary Beth Brown (Vienna, Va.) has been a wall early on, combining for nearly three a game. Jade is third in the ACC at 1.47 a game while Mary Beth is seventh at 1.25 a game.
The Terps are 3-2 all-time against the Eagles, with both losses coming last year. Maryland swept B.C. two seasons ago during its run to a third straight conference championship. The only other match between the two schools came in 2002, when the Terps won 3-0 in the Terrapin Invitational.