SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 14 Salisbury University volleyball team avenged one of just three losses this season, defeating Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Saturday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament, 3-1, at Maggs Physical Activities Center.
The 25-19, 19-25, 25-18, 25-16 win not only sends the Sea Gulls to the region final against Eastern University on Sunday afternoon, but also gives Salisbury 36 wins, tied for the most in program history, when Salisbury went 36-2 in 2008.
After trailing 5-4 early in the opening set, Salisbury made a 6-1 run, including three kills from freshman Ashlyn Tapley, to take a 12-6 lead. It was the start of a big set and bigger night for Tapley, who had eight kills in the first game and 18 on the night, one shy of her career high. The 18 kills matches the most by a Salisbury player in an NCAA tournament match, tying Jen O'Neill's 18 in a 3-0 loss to Juniata College during the 1998 NCAA tournament.
Senior Carley Todd assisted on seven of Tapley's kills in the opening set as she had 10 assists in the first frame and 34 in the match. In the third set Todd surpassed the 3,000 mark in career assists, becoming just the third player in program history to pass the milestone.
After five ties and four lead changes early in the opening set, the 6-1 spurt was all the Sea Gulls needed to run away for the first. The Salisbury lead grew to as many as 11 on a block assist by Todd and classmate Kelly Vieira.
The Ospreys (28-7) made a late run to get within five before Salisbury closed the set on a Vieira kill, one of nine on the night for her.
Richard Stockton claimed the second set to tie the match, working through eight ties and six lead changes to do so. The final tie of the set came on an attack error by Richard Stockton, making it 18-18, but a Macy Schwartz kill gave the Ospreys the lead as they would close the set on a 7-1 run to tie the match.
In the third, the Ospreys looked like they would carry their momentum to a big lead, starting with a 5-1 advantage after six points, prompting a Salisbury timeout. The break was just what the Gulls needed, coming out with two kills by Glowacki, another by Tapley and one from Vieira to get back within a point, 6-5 down, forcing Richard Stockton to use its first timeout of the set.
The Stockton timeout did not work the same magic for the Ospreys as Salisbury scored the next six points to take an 11-6 lead with kills from Vieria, Todd and Tapley during the run. Salisbury was helped during the run by the service of junior Sarah Hall, who subbed in at the beginning of the run and kept Richard Stockton off balance.
The Ospreys made another run at Salisbury, cutting their deficit to one point on three different occasions, but Salisbury was ready to answer each time, to claim the set.
The final set was close until the middle stages when Salisbury took control with a 7-3 run, keyed by two kills from sophomore Mattie Smith, stretching the Sea Gull lead to 15-11, and Richard Stockton would get no closer than three the rest of the way.
To go with Todd's 34 assists, she finished with her fourth triple-double of the season, and third in her last seven matches, notching 10 kills and 10 digs. Vieira nearly matched the feat with nine kills along with 11 digs and eight assists and sophomore libero Michelle Meehan had 11 digs.
Salisbury will take on No. 22 Eastern in the regional final, set for 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Sea Gulls have advanced to the regional final once in program history, in 2009, but fell in five sets. The winner of Sunday's match will advance to the NCAA championship weekend in Holland, Mich., with quarterfinal matches scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15.