SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team knocked off the defending Capital Athletic Conference champions University of Mary Washington on Saturday by the final score of 3-1. The Sea Gulls jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and held off the Eagles in the final two sets to seal the win and get back to .500 in the CAC.
The Sea Gulls (13-7, 2-2 CAC) claimed the opening set in a thrilling win by two back and forth battle, 31-29. Neither team held a lead larger than three points as Salisbury jumped out to a 6-3 advantage early and then saw the Eagles (11-7, 3-1 CAC) take a 15-12 advantage midway through the opening set. Mary Washington looked to be on the verge of victory up 23-20 and then 24-21. The Sea Gulls would not be denied storming all the way back to knot the set at 24-24 behind a kill from team-leader Nicole Venturelli and a service ace by Rachel Dubbs. The maroon and gold took a one-point lead three times with the chance to win but Mary Washington battled back to tie the set and then take a 29-28 lead. Once again however, Salisbury rallied back tallying the final three points of the set behind kills from Sydney Davis and Lacey Swartout to clinch a 1-0 lead.
In set two the Eagles rallied back to tie the match at one a piece taking the set by the final score of 25-19. The maroon and gold fell behind early, 7-1, but managed to rally all the way back to tie the set at 10-10. During the 9-3 run the Gulls recorded kills from Venturelli, Swartout, and Carley Cleland while Amanda Rodriguez added a service ace. However, Mary Washington found its offensive rhythm and pushed the advantage 19-16. Salisbury did manage to pull within two, 21-19, late but the Eagles pulled away tallying the final four points.
In the final two sets Salisbury came out firing racing out to a 10-2 lead in the third and a similar 10-3 lead in the fourth. In the third set the Sea Gulls held two 10 point leads on separate occasions leading 19-9 and 21-11. Mary Washington did manage to go on a late scoring run cutting the deficit to 23-15 but were unable to establish any offensive rhythm in the third set as Salisbury sealed the win and took a 2-1 lead. The Sea Gulls tallied nine kills in the set while holding the Eagles to a hitting percentage of .070.
Then in the fourth set after jumping out to an early lead the maroon and gold had to hold off a vicious rally by the Eagles that saw them take a 16-15 lead mid-way through the set. Both teams battled back and forth with neither leading by more than two. After the Mary Washington leveled the set at 21-21 Salisbury tallied the final four points capped off by the set and match winning kill by Venturelli.
Venturelli posted a team-high 19 kills for the match while totaling a hitting percentage of .235. Swartout and Cleland combined for 19 kills with Swartout totaling 11 as Cleland recorded eight. Dubbs turned in a solid performance accounting for 34 of the team's 47 total assists, a team-high hitting percentage of .500, four kills, another team-best four service aces, and sprinkled in four digs.
Salisbury returns to action on Saturday, October 14 when it travels to St. Mary's College of Maryland. The match is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.