SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 15 Salisbury University volleyball team will play in the NCAA tournament for the eighth time in program history this week after clinching the Capital Athletic Conference's automatic berth with a 3-0 win against Marymount (Va.) University in the conference title game on Sunday.
Along with the title, senior Chelsea Glowacki registered her 450th career block, making her the all-time leader in that category in program history.
Senior Kelly Vieira opened the match with a pair of service aces as the Sea Gulls began the match on an 8-4 run. Salisbury never trailed in the opening set, hitting .591 with just two errors against 15 kills, led by freshman Ashlyn Tapley, who had six.
A Marymount service error and a Tapley kill set off a 9-0 run, giving Salisbury a 17-5 lead, where the Saints called two timeouts, but could not slow the Gulls. Tapley had three kills during the run and senior Carley Todd added a pair of aces.
Marymount could get no closer than 11 the rest of the way, as Salisbury took the opening set 25-9.
In the second, the Saints made an early run to erase a 5-1 Salisbury lead and took a 13-10 advantage of their own. The Marymount lead was three points on three different occasions, but grew to no more than that, the latest time coming at 16-13. But it was all Sea Gulls from there, notching seven kills as part of a 12-2 run from that point to the end of the 25-18 win.
Tapley had three more kills during the run, and had eight more in the set, as Salisbury hit .500 in the second, with just one error.
Senior Jenna Shay, who had a pair of kills in the set, finished off the last one of the game, sending Salisbury to the third up 2-0.
After falling behind 3-0 in the final set, the Sea Gulls bounced back, grabbing a 9-8 lead and never trailing again. Vieira ripped the kill that gave Salisbury the lead for good, and a few points later Glowacki joined Todd for a block of Johanna Hummel, giving her the all-time record.
The Poolesville, Md., native has 88 blocks this year, and now the 450 for her career, breaking a tie with Nicole Massarelli (2006-09).
Salisbury closed the final set with a kill by junior Julie Poston, capping a 4-1 run to close the match with a 25-17 win in the third set.
Tapley continued her hot streak in the final game, registering another five kills to finish with a career-best 19, and a .720 hitting percentage (one error and 25 attempts), the highest percentage for a Sea Gull, with at least 12 kills, this season and the best in the program since 2009.
Vieira had nine kills and seven digs in the match while Todd was good for 38 assists to go with seven kills and seven digs. Freshman Kacey Franz had seven digs and sophomore Michelle Meehan added six.
Salisbury's team .427 hitting percentage in the match was its best showing this season.
Marymount was paced by Morgan McAlpin, who hit .500 with 11 kills while Melissa Warren added 25 assists.
The full NCAA field will be announced on Monday, check www.suseagulls.com for more information on where the Sea Gulls will play their first-round match and who it will be against, as information becomes available.