Big Ten 2023, News.

Maryland Blocking

Maryland has led the Big Ten in blocks in two of the last three seasons and is doing it again in 2023 (Photo: Maryland Athletics)

Maryland are faced with what could be the toughest match of their Big Ten women’s volleyball schedule and will need to be nearly perfect in order to have a chance of beating conference leaders Nebraska on the road on Friday, at 20:00 local time (23:00 UTC) - the match will be streamed live for VBTV subscribers around the world.

Currently in ninth place in the division with four wins and six losses, the Terrapins know that their hopes of upsetting the Cornhuskers are strongly dependent on the efficiency of their blocking, which has been one of the team’s strengths in 2023.

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After leading the Big Ten in blocks last season, Maryland are on pace to do it again, ranking first in the conference with 204 stops. Freshman middle blocker Eva Rohrbach has proved to be a great addition to the Terrapins and leads the team with 91 stops, ranking fifth in the Big Ten.

“I’d give a lot of credit to the staff,” senior setter Sydney Dowler said. “I think they do a great job individually with each person fixing the little tweaks that we all need to get better on blocking, reading, whatever it is. We have a lot of huge block returners coming back. Laila Ricks (senior opposite) was just a force at the net, and I’ll be excited to see what we do again this year.”

Maryland’s blocking has been part of the team’s identity for some years now as, since 2020, the Terrapins have led the Big Ten in blocks twice and ranked second once.

Middle blocker Rainelle Jones, who graduated last year as the program’s blocking record-holder, with 718, and got to work with most of the current squad is one of the players who set the tone for the Terrapins in that department.

“I look at it as you’ve just got to learn from the best,” senior outside hitter Sam Csire commented. “Looking at Laila Ricks and Rainelle, Anastasia (Russ, senior middle blocker), I learn a lot from them just being there, and they tell me things that I need to fix, and I’m there. Just seeing how Rainelle and kind of her legacy that she left, I had a lot to learn from. I think it’s very easy to learn from them. And we can also take that, what we’ve learned, and give it to our new middle or outside and kind of keep that tradition going off the blocks.”

Besides playing Nebraska on Friday, Maryland will have a second road match this weekend, facing Iowa on Saturday.

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