SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team will begin postseason play tomorrow on Tuesday, October 30 when it travels to Buena Vista, Virgina to take on the Knights of Southern Virginia University in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament.
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How we got here
Salisbury enters the tournament as the fifth seed after finishing the season with a 3-4 mark in conference play. The Sea Gulls claimed victories over Frostburg State University, St. Mary's College of Maryland, and Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg but were unable to record a win against the top four seeds in the tournament, including Southern Virginia. It is also the first time since the 2002 campaign that Salisbury has finished with a below .500 mark in CAC play, when the Sea Gulls went 3-4 as well.
How they got here
Southern Virginia enters the tournament as the No. 4 seed after finishing the 2018 regular season with a CAC record of 4-3. The Knights earned victories over the Sea Gulls, St. Mary's (Md.), Penn St.-Harrisburg, and Frostburg St. but were swept by the top three seeds, including a CAC finale loss to No. 23 Christopher Newport University 3-0.
Scouting the Knights
Southern Virginia enters the playoffs coming off a 15-9 regular season in which it started with a 5-0 mark. The Knights struggled on the road, going 5-6, but were almost perfect at home, finishing the regular season with a 6-1 record. At home the Knights have totaled 302 kills to tally an average of 12.08 kills per set.
Southern Virginia enters the first round with an offensive attack that has totaled 937 kills this season for an average of 11.29 kills per set, which ranks fifth in the conference. The offense is led by Hailey Lohnes, who posted a team-best 257 kills during the regular season. Lohnes' 3.10 kills per set average is second best in the CAC behind only Salisbury's Nicole Venturelli, who posted a mark of 3.15. Lohnes is also among the best in the conference in service aces with 48, averaging 0.58 aces per set.
On the defensive side Ella Burrows ranks first on the team with 68 blocks, averaging 0.84 blocks per set, which ranks eighth in the CAC. Defensive specialist Mykynli Knight finished regular season play with a team-best 430 digs, which ranks her fifth in the CAC.
The last time we met
These teams last met on September 22 in Buena Vista with Southern Virginia defeating the Sea Gulls 3-1 for the second straight season. The Sea Gulls struggled to get their offense clicking, posting a .156 hitting percentage and committing 45 errors to the Knights' mark of .204 and 43 errors. Gianna Savarese led the Salisbury attack with 15 kills and a team-best hitting percentage of .417 and was the only Sea Gull to tally double-digit kills, while Venturelli tallied nine kills of her own.
Meanwhile, two different players for the Knights tallied double-digit kill performances, including Lohnes, who tallied a match-best 19 kills. Her teammate Allison Tiegs posted 15 kills of her own and a hitting percentage of .433.
The winner of the match will advance to play the winner of top seed University of Mary Washington and No. 8 seed St. Mary's (Md.).