SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 17 Salisbury University volleyball team earned a 3-0 win over Marymount (Va.) University on Wednesday night, claiming the Capital Athletic Conference regular-season championship and the top seed in next week's Capital Athletic Conference tournament.
The teams entered as the top two in the CAC, with home-court advantage on the line, and the opening set was a battle throughout. Salisbury (29-2, 6-0 CAC) opened up a 4-1 lead in the first frame, with an ace from senior Kristin Jehle and a kill from classmate Kelly Vieira, but the three-point edge would match the largest lead for the Sea Gulls in the set.
Marymount (23-9, 4-2 CAC) chipped away at the small lead and would eventually tie the set at 9-9. It was one of seven ties in the opening set as the Saints pulled ahead by as many as four, 15-11.
Tapley notched six of Salisbury's points in the opening set and had a match-best 12 kills on the night.
The Saints retained the lead, but a kill from senior Chelsea Glowacki sparked a 4-1 run, allowing Salisbury to grab a 22-21 lead. Marymount would tie things two more times, but a Tapley kill made it 24-23 before a Saint ball-handling error ended the set.
The second set was all Sea Gulls as a pair of Tapley kills were part of a 6-2 run to open things up. Salisbury kept pressing, stretching the lead quickly to 10 and a Shay kill made it 15-4. Shay notched six kills in the second set, on just seven swings to lead the Gulls.
The lead would not get inside 11 points again as Salisbury rolled to the 25-11 second-set win.
The Sea Gulls would open up another large advantage in the third set. After taking a 10-8 lead, Salisbury rattled off eight of the next nine points, capped by a block by Glowacki and Todd to push the lead to 18-9, but the conference title-clinching win would not come easily.
Marymount would cut into the deficit and eventually tie the set at 23-23, but Salisbury would not be denied, capitalizing on a Saints' service error and picking up match point when Vieira's service ace caught the top of the net and trickled over for the victory.
Glowacki, Shay and Todd each had eight kills in the match while junior Julie Poston added seven. Todd also had a match-best 34 assists to go with seven digs.
Jenn Forbes led the way for the Saints with nine kills while Michelle McCormick had a match-high 21 digs.
The Saints will be the No. 2 seed in the CAC tournament, after winning a series of coin flips that broke a three-way tie for second-place with St. Mary's (Md.) College and the University of Mary Washington.
Prior to the match, Salisbury recognized its five seniors, Vieira, Glowacki, Jehle, Shay and Todd, playing in their final regular-season home match. The quintet has posted a four-year record of 116-23, with two CAC tournament championships and two NCAA tournament appearances.
Salisbury, as the No. 1 seed, will have a first-round CAC bye and host a semifinal match on Thursday, Nov. 1. The Sea Gulls will take on the winner of next Tuesday's opening-round match between No. 5 Frostburg State University and No. 4 Mary Washington.