SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team will begin its playoff run on Thursday, November 3, when it hosts Christopher Newport University in a Capital Athletic Conference semifinal match at 7 p.m.
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How we got here
The Sea Gulls enter the tournament as the second seed behind the University of Mary Washington, which was the only team to beat Salisbury in CAC regular season play. Salisbury posted a 20-7 record overall in 2016 while going 8-1 in CAC play. The most notable win for the Sea Gulls this season was on October 7 when they traveled to then-No. 13 Christopher Newport and upset the Captains 3-1. Salisbury posted a 13-2 record from late September through the end of the season after starting off the year 7-5.
How they got here
Christopher Newport enters the playoffs with an overall record of 24-8 and a 7-2 Capital Athletic Conference record. After a string of three straight losses including two to nationally ranked then-No. 14 Mary Washington and then-No. 4 Southwestern University the Captains won seven consecutive matches and seven of their final eight matches overall. On November 1, CNU defeated sixth-seeded York (Pa.) College in the CAC first round, 3-0.
Christopher Newport leads the overall series against Salisbury 17-12. These two teams first played each other back in 1983 with the Sea Gulls winning nine straight between 1983 and 1999. However, it became fairly one sided since then with the Captains' claiming 17 of the next 19 including a stretch of 12 in a row. That streak was broken this season when Salisbury topped CNU on their home court claiming its first win in the series since October 23, 2009.
Last time we met
The last time these two teams met was on October 7 in Newport News, Va. with the Sea Gulls pulling the 3-1 upset of Captains. The victory snapped CNU's 138 consecutive regular season league match winning streak dating all the way back to 2006. Katie Stouffer tallied a match-high 18 kills in the win and was one of only two Salisbury players to tally double digit kills.
Scouting the Captains
Christopher Newport is led on the offensive attack by Maddie McCann who has posted a team-high 315 kills this season. McCann is one of five CNU players to post triple digit kills this season. On the defensive side both Rachel Close and Hannah Miller have been vital to the Captains' success. Close has tallied 464 digs so far this season while Miller has posted 99 blocks, including 13 solo.
Attack, Attack, Attack
Stouffer has been the leader of the Salisbury attack totaling a team-high 422 kills and averaging 4.49 kills per set. Stouffer has posted a hitting percentage of .290 thus far in 2016 and now sits only nine kills away from breaking the all-time kills record currently held by Stacey Krebs. Three other players have posted triple digit kills this season including Nicole Venturelli who is second on the team with 257 and is averaging 2.76 per set.
A win tonight would send the Sea Gulls into the finals against either the Mary Washington or Marymount (Va.) University on November 5. Salisbury would travel to Mary Washington should the Eagles win but if Marymount wins the Sea Gulls would host the CAC Championship on Saturday.