FROSTBURG, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team picked up its first Capital Athletic Conference victory on Saturday afternoon defeating Frostburg State University in a thrilling five-set match, 3-2. The Gulls won by scores of 25-23, 25-23, and a win by two, 16-14, in the decisive fifth set.
After falling behind 1-0 after the first set, the maroon and gold (12-6, 1-1 CAC) rallied back to tie the match at one apiece in the second. Salisbury raced out to a 13-4 lead behind seven kills, three of which were from Nicole Venturelli, and a service ace by Hailey Dougherty. However, Frostburg State (12-7, 1-1 CAC) stormed back to take a 21-19 lead late in the set. Salisbury regrouped and came back to score six of the final eight points to secure the set and tie the match behind kills from Venturelli and Samantha Chubb.
Salisbury gained a 2-1 advantage after a victory in the third set where it found itself trailing 12-8 midway through. The Sea Gulls were not deterred however, and battled back once again to take a 24-19 lead late in the set, going on two scoring runs, one of 4-0 and another of 3-0 behind five kills from four different players. Once again, though, the Bobcats came roaring back to pull within one, 24-23, before an eventual ball handling error on Frostburg State ended the set. As a team, the Gulls totaled a hitting percentage of .220 with a match-high 17 kills in the set to earn the win, while the Bobcats were held to just 12 kills but did manage to tally a hitting percentage of .231.
Following a thrilling set four, which Frostburg State managed to win 31-29, the match headed to a decisive fifth set, which also went to a win by two. Salisbury started strong racing out to an 8-3 lead but saw the Bobcats storm back for the third time in the match and knot the set at 12-12. After Frostburg State took the lead, 14-13, and was one point away from victory, Venturelli was able to tie the match again, 14-14, and force the win by two. The Sea Gulls forced an attacking error before a bad set by the Bobcats ended the match and deliver the Gulls their first conference win.
Venturelli led the team and continued her streak of 18 straight matches with double-digit kills, tallying a season-high 31 kills on another season-high 97 total attacks. Senior Sydney Davis was the only other Gull to tally double-digit kills, totaling 12, while freshman Kaitlyn Shea recorded a team-high .312 hitting percentage.
Defensively, Dougherty posted a season-high 32 digs while both Allison Laucella and Amanda Rodriguez also picked up double-digit digs posting 19 and 18, respectively, which are season-highs for both athletes. Davis posted a team-best six blocks while Shea totaled four of her own.
As a team, the Gulls recorded 68 kills, on what is now the third most attacks in a match in program history 223 attacks. Salisbury also recorded 66 assists, with Alexis Howatt and Rachel Dubbs tallying 29 each. The maroon and gold also recorded 113 digs as a team and 18 total blocks.
Salisbury returns home to host No. 22 Christopher Newport University on Friday, October 6 to kick off homecoming weekend. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.