DOVER Del. – The Salisbury University volleyball team rounded out Capital Athletic Conference play on Wednesday night with a 3-1 victory over Wesley College. The Sea Gulls will now await the results of this weekend's final CAC matches to see who and where they will play in the CAC playoffs.
Salisbury (18-8, 6-3 CAC) claimed the opening two sets by scores of 25-16 and 25-19. In the first set the maroon and gold turned in an impressive .303 hitting percentage while totaling 12 kills as a team. Defensively the Gulls held Wesley (15-13, 2-7 CAC) to just seven kills and a hitting percentage of -.051, marking the first of two sets in which Salisbury held the Wolverines to a negative hitting percentage.
In the opening set Salisbury raced out to a 13-4 lead using a 10-2 run early in the set. Four different Sea Gulls recorded a kill during the scoring spree including two from both Nicole Venturelli and Carley Cleland. Wesley did manage to cut the deficit to 16-11 late in the set but Salisbury would finish the opening set of play on a 10-5 run including a 4-0 run to close the set and pick up the victory for a 1-0 lead.
In the second set it was Wesley, which managed to get out to an early lead holding three separate one-point leads throughout the opening of the set. With the set tied at 8-8 Lacey Swartout hammered home her third kill of the set to spark an 12-3 scoring run to push the maroon and gold out to a comfortable 19-11 lead. The Wolverines did manage to rally back to pull within six but back-to-back kills for Gulls by Sydney Davis ended the threat and set.
After Wesley managed to pick up a 25-17 victory in the third set to avoid the sweep the Sea Gulls came roaring back in the fourth set to end the match with a convincing 25-15 win. As a team Salisbury totaled a match-high 18 kills while totaling another match-high .438 hitting percentage. Defensively the maroon and gold held Wesley to a hitting percentage of -.036 and just five kills.
The Wolverines managed to keep the set close early as Salisbury held a slim 7-5 advantage before a 12-5 scoring spree pushed the maroon and gold's lead to 19-10. Four different players notched kills for the Gulls during the run including two from Davis, Venturelli, and Swartout. Gabby Fox and Alexis Howatt tallied back-to-back kills for Salisbury to end the match and deliver the crucial conference victory.
As a team the Gulls totaled 55 kills, a hitting percentage of .232 and 54 assists. Venturelli finished the match with a team-high 19 kills while both Swartout and Cleland ended the night with eight kills apiece. Davis finished her evening with a team-best .500 hitting percentage while Howatt and Rachel Dubbs totaled 45 assists accounting for 24 and 21 respectively.
On the defensive side Hailey Dougherty picked up 23 digs while Dubbs finished recorded 11 to finish with the second most on the team. As a team Salisbury recorded 25 blocks with Cleland posting a team-best five and a flock of Gulls ending the night with four.
Salisbury returns to action on Friday, October 27 when it travels to Virginia Wesleyan University for the regular season finale. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.