Indiana volleyball was on the road for two conference games against Rutgers on Friday night in Piscataway, New Jersey, and then Maryland on Saturday in College Park, Maryland. Indiana beat Rutgers in four sets and lost to Maryland in three.
On Friday, Indiana won the first set against Rutgers 25-18. In the second set it fell short losing 25-23 before taking the third and fourth sets with scores of 25-14 and 25-23 to win the match.
Head coach Steve Aird said the team did a great job preparing for the match throughout the week and played at a high level for most of the match.
“It's challenging in a conference where there are so many good teams,” Aird said. “Going on the road and winning is very tough to do so I’m proud of the kids for finding a way. Full credit to the team. I thought they executed some of the stuff we were asking them to do and stayed with it long enough, and battled like crazy in game four to win the match.”
Briana Edwards led the game with 19 kills and four blocks. In the fourth set, Edwards spiked a kill to get the Hoosiers to 24. Then outside hitter senior Kari Zumach had a block to finish the match.
Aird said Indiana needs Edwards to be exceptional to win matches, and that she’s one of the best outside hitters in the Big Ten.
“She was brave tonight when we needed her, she blocked balls and was great offensively,” Aird said. “We’re so young in so many spots that we need to look to upperclassmen to make plays.”
After its win Friday Indiana traveled to Maryland. Aird said he was interested to see how the team responded to the travel, because this would be the first time that this group of players would play back-to-back matches in two different cities.
Indiana lost to Maryland in a three-set sweep with scores of 25-14, 25-17 and 26-24.
Aird said Indiana got off to a bad start and wasn’t ready to play at the start of the game. However, Indiana fought hard in the third set, tying the score several times.
“I thought we started to figure it out in game three and started to compete and just be more attentive to the game plan, but kind of ran out of runway,” Aird said.
Although the team had a rough start in games one and two, Aird thought there was an opportunity to win in game three and that he hopes to build on what he saw in Saturday’s game.
“Splitting the weekend is the good news, going 1-1 on the road is never a bad thing,” Aird said.
The Hoosiers moved to 8-10 overall this season and 2-4 in Big Ten play with its 1-1 record this weekend.
Indiana will play Nebraska at 9 p.m. Wednesday in Lincoln, Nebraska.