ARLINGTON, Va. – The Salisbury University volleyball team took to the road on Tuesday evening for a midweek matchup with Capital Athletic Conference opponent Marymount (Va.) University. The Sea Gulls defeated the Saints by the final score of 3-1.
In the opening set both teams battled back and forth trading points, with the Sea Gulls (15-7, 4-2 CAC) owning a three-point lead three times in the early stages. A kill by Lacey Swartout pushed the maroon and gold's advantage to 10-5 forcing a Saints (11-11, 3-3 CAC) timeout. Marymount founds its offensive rhythm out of the break, going on an 11-6 scoring run of its own to pull the match even at 16-16. The Saints broke the deadlock and pushed their lead to 20-18, pulling within five points of sealing an opening set victory.
A block assist by Samantha Chubb and Nicole Venturelli cut the deficit to 20-19, and gave the maroon the ball back with a chance to tie. Salisbury used the momentum to take the lead back momentarily, 21-20, before Marymount leveled the score again at 21-21. The Saints tallied four of the next six points scored to take the opening set by the final score of 25-22. The Gulls totaled 11 kills in the set, led by four kills each for Venturelli and Swartout, while Marymount totaled 16 kills of their own.
Salisbury came out strong in the second set, led by two straight service aces from freshman Allison Laucella to open an early 5-2 lead. However, the Saints once again regained their offensive momentum going on a 7-2 run to pull ahead, 9-7, midway through the second set. A service ace by Rachel Dubbs and a kill from Venturelli gave the Gulls a 16-15 lead before three straight points by Marymount flipped the score again in its favor, 18-16.
The Saints pushed their lead to 20-18, but back-to-back kills by Swartout and senior Sydney Davis knotted the match at 20-20, moving both teams within five points of the win. Back-to-back kills from Davis and Venturelli gave the Gulls a 23-21 lead late in the set and just two points short of tying the match at one set apiece. The Saints rallied back to tie the match at 24-24, forcing a win-by-two scenario. Venturelli and Swartout hammered home the final two points for Salisbury to give the maroon and gold a 27-25 win and level the match at one set each.
The Sea Gulls came flying out of the gates in the third set, racing out to a 10-1 lead behind three service aces from Dubbs, and kills by both Carley Cleland and Venturelli. The maroon and gold pushed their lead to 17-5 midway through the set behind kills from Dubbs, Davis, and Swartout. Salisbury cruised to an easy third set victory by the final score of 25-14 to take a 2-1 match lead. As a team, the Gulls hit .171 in the set, while holding the Saints to a hitting percentage of -.025. The maroon and gold totaled nine kills with both Venturelli and Davis tallying three. The team also combined for four service aces, including three from Dubbs and one from Gabby Fox.
Both teams came out swinging in the fourth set with neither willing to yield to the other. It was Salisbury who went on the first scoring run of the game. A 5-0 run pushed the Sea Gulls out to an early 10-4 lead behind a service from Dubbs and kills by Venturelli and Swartout. However, Marymount would go on a 4-2 scoring run of its own, cutting the maroon and gold's lead to 12-9. The Sea Gulls regained their offensive prowess going on an 8-6 scoring run to pull ahead, 20-15, midway through the fourth set. The Saints would not be deterred and rallied back, shrinking Salisbury's lead to 22-17 before a kill by Cleland put them just two points away from a set and match win. After another scoring run by Marymount cut the deficit to 24-21, Davis hammered home the set and match winner to give Salisbury the win.
Venturelli led the Gulls attack with a team-best 17 kills, while both Davis and Swartout finished the evening with nine apiece. Dubbs posted a team-high hitting percentage of .667 while Davis posted a .529 hitting percentage. Dubbs and Alexis Howatt combined for 35 of the team's 41 total assists, recording 20 and 15 respectively. Dubbs also posted a team-best six service aces, while the team posted nine as a whole.
On the defensive side Hailey Dougherty picked up a team-high 28 digs, while Dubbs finished second on the team with 16. Salisbury combined for 24 total blocks led by Gianna Savarese's six total and Chubb's five.
With the win the Gulls take full control of third place and are one game clear of current third-place team's Frostburg State University and the University of Mary Washington with three games left to play in the CAC season.
Salisbury returns to action on Friday, October 20 when it hosts York College of Pennsylvania in the Sea Gulls annual Dig Pink game. The match is slated to start at 7 p.m.