Two Capital Athletic Conference contenders dueled it out on Tuesday night in the small college town on of Salisbury the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
The University of Mary Washington volleyball team came into the game riding a seven game winning streak and an impressive 12-1 record. The hot start was the best the Eagles have had since their 1991 season, when they finished 35-3 and had a national tournament appearance.
The Salisbury Sea Gulls that opposed UMW had an equally impressive record of 16-1 heading into this bout of volleyball heavyweights, and were riding an even more impressive10 game winning streak.
To coach Dee Conway, Salisbury was just another game.
“[They are] another high ranked opponent for us, Conway said.” “When you think about (your opponent) too much you are giving them too much credit.”
Neither team had lost a game in the Capital Athletic Conference before this past Tuesday, but UMW’s record got it’s first blemish as they fell to Salisbury in five sets.
The Eagles came out in their away navy blue jerseys and the Seagulls in their home whites. Early on, it appeared inevitable that this clash of titans would not be a short match.
The home team came out strong in the first set and overwhelmed UMW early. The Eagles never led in the opening frame, but got as close as 19-20 before the Sea Gulls won the next five points to take a 1-0 lead.
After the first set jitters, the Eagles kicked it into high gear. The eagles won the second set 25-23, paced by sophomore Kaitlynn Wickersham’s six kills. The Eagles dominated most of the set, and it was briefly tied at 3-3, but then UMW built a considerable lead. Salisbury crept back in toward the end of the set, but Mary Washington was able hold up and preserve the 25-23 win.
Neither team pulled away for a convincing lead in the third set, as there were several lead changes throughout. The Eagles tied it up at 19 thanks to an error by the Sea Gulls, but the Salisbury regained momentum to finish UMW 25-22 to take a 2-1 advantage.
The Eagles continued their knack of recovering well, as they bounced back to take the fourth set 25-22. Conditioning and mental toughness were evident as Mary Washington didn’t get down after falling behind. Kills came from many different UMW players in this set, as they used a balanced attack. Mary Washington also benefited from a handful of violations from the Salisbury side.
In the fifth and final set, the Eagles trailed early on and simply could not recover as the Sea Gulls won the deciding set 5-10. Salisbury’s win was punctuated by a demoralizing kill by Chelsea Glowacki, followed by a service ace by sophomore Sam Seifert to clinch the game.
These teams will meet one more time in the Christopher Newport Tournament over fall break, and there is the possibility they meet at some point in the CAC Tournament. The Eagles will be back in action tonight, as they take on North Carolina Wesleyan College in the Anderson Center at 7 p.m.