Volleyball: Northwestern prepares for final matches of the season against Maryland


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Senior middle hitter Alana Walker records a kill. Walker is among five seniors who will play in their final matches for the Wildcats this weekend.

Carlos Stinson-Maas, Reporter


As a result of COVID-19 outbreaks within Northwestern’s own program and within the programs of Big Ten opponents, 12 of the Cats’ first 20 games were postponed. 

The Wildcats (3-5, 3-5 Big Ten) have only played eight games this season, but will have the chance to finish with an above-.500 record as they travel to Maryland (4-14, 4-14 Big Ten) this weekend.

Last season, NU split two matches against the Terrapins. Both contests went to five sets, with the Cats taking the second match in College Park. 

This season, NU has wins against Rutgers and Iowa and losses to the Hawkeyes, No. 11 Purdue, and No. 4 Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Terrapins started the season on an eight-game losing streak, but bounced back with a two-game sweep of Iowa and wins over Michigan and Indiana.

NU is led by sophomore outside hitter Temi Thomas-Ailara, who ranks third in the Big Ten in kills per set (4.03) and second in points per set (4.63). Last season, she earned second team All-Big Ten honors and made the Big Ten All-Freshman team.

As a team, NU has out-killed its opponents 372-349, but attack errors have plagued the team. The Cats have 165 this season, compared to just 128 for opponents.

This weekend will mark the last matches for several seniors for the Cats, including fourth-year starters Nia Robinson and Alana Walker.

Despite a tumultuous season, NU could avoid a losing record for just the second time in the past six seasons with a sweep this weekend.

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