Over a quarter of the way through the conference slate, IU volleyball finds its next opportunity to grab a conference win Wednesday night, when they travel to College Park, Maryland, to take on the Maryland Terrapins.
The Hoosiers are 1-5 in conference play, a game behind the 2-4 Terrapins. First serve is set to be in the air at 6 p.m., and the match will be televised on Big Ten Network. Leading up to Wednesday’s conference tilt, here are three things to know.
Both teams are looking to ignite their offense.
In its last match against Illinois, IU couldn’t find much success on offense. For the first time of the season, the Hoosiers had a negative hitting percentage as a unit.
Luckily for IU, Maryland hasn’t exactly found its stride on offense either, at least so far in conference play. The Terrapins currently rank last in the Big Ten in kills and assists, while also being 10th in hitting percentage.
Although both teams have struggled at times offensively, their defenses have been bright spots. IU and Maryland each rank in the top half of the conference in blocks and opponent hitting percentage. The Terrapins’ redshirt sophomore middle blocker Katie Meyers is currently 16th in the nation with 1.39 blocks per set.
Deyshia Lofton is stepping up for IU.
Senior Middle blocker D eyshia Lofton has put together three straight quality matches by giving IU lots of production on offense and defense.
The Plainfield, Illinois, native has led the Hoosiers in blocks for three straight matches, while also totaling 31 kills in that span. Twice in those same matches, Lofton has been only a block or two away from a double-double.
Although it is still relatively early in the conference season, it appears that Lofton is finding her groove with the Hoosiers and is stepping up to be a reliable presence near the net.
IU faces a critical juncture in its Big Ten schedule.
While IU is only 1-5 to begin conference play, all five of its losses have come to top-20 teams in the nation. Now, the Hoosiers finally have some breathing room, with better opportunities to grab some conference wins.
Three of the Hoosiers’ next four matches come against unranked opponents, including Iowa twice, which also sits at 1-5 in conference. If there’s a time for IU to snatch some wins and inch its way closer to .500 in the Big Ten, it’s now.
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