NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The No. 17 Salisbury University volleyball team split its two matches on the opening day of the Christopher Newport University Invitational, topping No. 16 State University of New York Cortland, 3-0, before falling to the host Captains in four.
Salisbury came ready to go in the opener against the Red Dragons, taking the match with scores of 25-20, 25-21 and 25-10.
Freshman Ashlyn Tapley ripped three kills in the first five points of the match, setting the tone for the contest, as Salisbury took a 4-1 lead. Tapley would register five kills in the opening set on her way to 11 in the match.
Three Cortland attack errors later and the Sea Gulls were out to a 7-1 advantage to begin the day, and would not trail in the set. The closest the Red Dragons would get in the opening frame was one point, on two different occasions, but Cortland could not pull even.
The Red Dragons cut the score to 13-12 before another Tapley kill and a solo block from senior Kelly Vieira pushed the edge back to three points and Salisbury would hold on for the win, finishing the set on a kill from senior Carley Todd, one of three for her in the first.
The second set was the closest of the match, with five ties and three lead changes. A 5-2 Salisbury run broke a 12-12 tie with two Todd kills and another by Tapley, prompting a Red Dragons' timeout.
The Sea Gulls held a narrow lead throughout the remainder of the set, with four kills down the stretch by Vieira, who had six in the set and matched Tapley for team-high honors with 11 in the match. Her kills came on just 16 attempts in the match, for a .688 hitting percentage.
Todd and Tapley began the final set with kills before senior Chelsea Glowacki added two kills helping Salisbury to a 6-0 lead. Cortland would get no closer than five the rest of the way as the Sea Gulls had 16 digs and three blocks in the set, holding the Red Dragons to a -.182 hitting percentage. For the match, Cortland hit -.027.
Todd had seven kills to go with a match-best 28 assists and six digs while Glowacki had 11 digs and Vieira added six digs and three blocks to go with her outstanding hitting performance.
In the nightcap, Salisbury dropped the first two sets to Christopher Newport, 25-22 and 25-19, before the Sea Gulls came back for a 25-19 win in the third set. The Captains closed out the match with a 25-15 win.
Salisbury (30-3) fell behind 4-1 to open the match and was able to come back and tie the opening set on three different occasions, but could not take the lead. Down 11-7, the Sea Gulls put together a 5-1 run to tie the set with kills from junior Julie Poston, Todd and Tapley before a block from Tapley and Vieira made it 12-12. Salisbury could not grab the lead and the Captains claimed the set.
An 8-1 start to the second set paced the Captains as CNU (31-2) was forced to hold on after a 9-4 run got the Gulls back to within three.
In the third, Salisbury made the early run, with a block from Vieira and junior Tam Weems and a Vieira kill, to take a 5-0 lead.
Back-to-back kills from Todd and Glowacki allowed Salisbury to stretch its lead to a match-best eight points, 12-4, prompting the Captains to use their final timeout. The Sea Gulls were led by Todd and Glowacki in the set, with four kills each, to cut the CNU lead to 2-1.
But the final set was back in the Captains' favor as Christopher Newport hit .452 in the final set to claim the victory.
Todd finished with her second triple-double of the season, notching 11 kills to go with 35 assists and 11 digs. Tapley and Glowacki tied for team-high honors in kills with 12 each. Tapley added 14 digs while sophomore Michelle Meehan had 11.
The Sea Gulls will close out play in the CNU Invitational, and the regular season, with matches against Averett Unviersity and Virginia Wesleyan College on Saturday.