Terps' season spiked, but they give Penn State a struggle

Second seed edges UM to advance to third round

College Volleyball

December 05, 2004|By Gordon Brunskill | Gordon Brunskill,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - What the Maryland women's volleyball team would give for just a couple more points.

In about the closest match you can find in a three-game sweep, Penn State defeated Maryland, 34-32, 30-27, 31-29, last night in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Rec Hall.

"It's frustrating but they're a really great team," Terps senior hitter Jennifer Dewalt said of the second-seeded Nittany Lions (29-2). "I think we played really well and to come as close as we did, even though it's three games, I think we put up a fight that nobody really expected us to."

The Terps (18-15) can look at each of the three games and wonder how things might have turned out if just one or two points went the other direction.

In the first game Maryland had one game point while turning back three for Penn State before freshman Melissa Walbridge put it away with a spike.

The second game was knotted at 26, but it closed with a pair of Terps errors to give the Nittany Lions the decisive points.

"I didn't feel like we lost any focus at all between those two games," Maryland coach Janice Kruger said. "It was a disappointment because we had them right on the line."

The third game was tied at 29 before Penn State's Ashley Pederson pounded a kill off a Terps' block and Sam Tortorello sent a laser back-row spike into the corner of the court, completing a desperate scramble to keep the ball alive, for the final point.

"We could have been playing well into the night," said Penn State coach Russ Rose. "It was that close."

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