Salisbury Outlasts Seahawks in Five-Set Thriller
St. Mary's City, Md. – For the second consecutive season, the St. Mary's College of Maryland volleyball team went five sets with its league nemesis, Salisbury University, but the Sea Gulls overcame a 2-1 deficit to claim the 3-2 victory in the Capital Athletic Conference opener for both squads Tuesday night.
After evening up the match at 2-2, Salisbury (7-2, 1-0 CAC) jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the deciding set before back-to-back kills by first-year Michelle Klima (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial) pulled the home team within one. The Sea Gulls quickly responded with six straight points en route to a dominant 15-6 triumph in the fifth set for the match victory.
The conference rivals were neck-in-neck in the match's first two sets with Salisbury taking the first, 25-23, before the Seahawks answered back with a 25-23 win of their own in the second.
The Seahawks (4-3, 0-1 CAC) controlled the third set from start to finish as juniors Gena Hlavinka (Gaithersburg, Md./T.S. Wootton) and Shannon Fitzpatrick (Germantown, Md./St. John's College [D.C.]) each tallied four kills. St. Mary's never trailed in the set, leading by as many as 10 points (21-11) as sophomore Cecilia Blanc (Laytonsville, Md./Poolesville) served up five straight points during that stretch while the run was capped by a Fitzpatrick kill.
The two squads battled it out in the fourth set with the score being knotted 12 times and the lead changing on seven different occasions. Salisbury rolled to a 6-1 start before the Seahawks clawed their way back into the set, evening up the score at 11-11 following an ace by senior captain Katie Obal (Olney, Md./Sherwood). The teams traded points from that point on until the Sea Gulls capitalized on three attacking errors to break a 22-22 draw and stake the 25-22 victory to force the fifth set.
Hlavinka paced the Seahawks with a career-and match-high 21 kills for a .618 hitting percentage as she made no errors in 34 attempts. Klima also notched double-digit kills with 13. Four players in double figures commanded the defense with Blanc and Fitzpatrick each denying 20 kill attempts by Salisbury. Obal and first-year libero Bianca Livioco (Montgomery Village, Md./Gaithersburg) were not far behind with 19 digs apiece.
Sophomores Chelsea Glowacki (Poolesville, Md./Poolesville) and Carley Todd (Centerport, N.Y./Harborfields) controlled the Salisbury offense with 15 and 11 kills, respectively. Outside hitters Kelly Vieira (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty) and Melissa Stansbury (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty) led five Sea Gulls in double-digit digs with 22 each.
The Seahawks look to get back in the win column on Friday, September 17 when they travel to Lancaster, Pa. to face Franklin & Marshall College at 6:30 pm in non-conference action.