The University of Mary Washington volleyball team overcame a two games to one deficit to defeat Salisbury University in five games on Thursday night in the Capital Athletic Conference semifinal at Ron Rosner Arena. The Eagles improve to 20-10 on the year, and will take on state foe Christopher Newport University on Saturday for the league crown.
In the opening game, Salisbury jumped out to a 5-1 lead, and upped the lead to five at 17-12. UMW then went on a run, tying the match at 18-18, led by a pair of kills from junior Savannah Powers. After the teams traded points, Salisbury scored the next two to take a 21-19 advantage, but UMW answered with two of their own, with kills from senior Leslie Walters and freshman Alana Harris.
After the teams traded service errors, the Eagles gained a game point, but Salisbury bounced back with two points to take at 25-24 lead, and after a service error tied the score, then added two more to take the first game.
The second game remained tight throughout, as did much of the action all evening. Four ties and four lead changes led to a 4-4 score early on, before the Sea Gulls netted a pair of points to take a slim lead, which they would hold until five straight Eagle points tied the score at 12-12. A kill from sophomore Tenley Hares gave the Eagles the lead, which Salisbury would quickly regain with a pair of points to move the score to 14-13.
UMW would score six of the next seven points to grab a 19-15 lead. Kills from Powers and junior Peyton Dunow keyed the run. The Sea Gulls again rallied, scoring four of the next five to cut their deficit to 20-19, before UMW scored the next two on a service error and attack error. After a Salisbury point, UMW gained game point after kills from Walters and Hares, and after a Sea Gull rally cut the margin to 24-23, Harris put away the game with a kill.
The third game saw the score remain tight once more through the early going, before the visitors scored three straight to take a 7-4 lead. The Eagles chipped away, but each time they drew to within one, the Sea Gulls would answer back to hold the lead. UMW regained the lead at 12-10 on a service ace from senior Ryan Cho, but Salisbury knotted the score at 12-12, and the teams then traded points through points 13, 14, and 15.
Salisbury scored three straight to assume an 18-15 lead, which UMW quickly erased with four straight to take a 19-18 edge. A Sea Gull kill tied the score, and points were traded until 21-21, before the Gulls used a pair of kills to take a 23-21 edge. After a kill from Harris stemmed the tide, Salisbury scored the final two points to take the third, 25-22, and take a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth, Salisbury ran out to a 5-2 lead before the Eagles used an ace from Harris and a kill from Powers to knot the score at 5-5. Salisbury scored the next two points, and held the lead until the Eagles tied the score at 9-9 on a service error. A kill from Powers gave UMW a 13-11 lead, but Salisbury tied the score with two points, and the teams then traded points number 14 and 15 before a Sea Gull rally gave them a 17-15 cushion.
UMW netted four of the next five points to take a 19-18 lead, but the score would be tied at 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 before Hares made a pair of kills to keep the Eagles alive with a 26-24 win.
In the fifth game, the teams traded points through 3-3 before a Powers ace capped a four-point run with an aceafter trading points, UMW used a Walters kill to lead, 10-5. After an error trimmed the lead to 10-6, UMW reeled off five straight points for victory. Powers and Dunow gained kills before Powers scored an ace to run the score to 13-6, and a pair of atatck errors pushed the Eagles' score to the clinching 15.
Powers led UMW with 16 kills, while Walters, Harris, and Hares all scored 12. Sophomore Wren Berry added 52 assistsand Cho contributed a team-high three aces and 17 digs. Harris posted three solo blocks and four assists, while Walters added two and four, respectively.
The Eagles will meet Christopher Newport University in the CAC Championship for the third straight year on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Rosner Arena. UMW captured the 2016 title en route to the NCAA Tournament national quarterfinals, and the Captains took last year's title in Newport News in five games.