Nov. 13, 2009

Courtesy Salisbury Athletics

NEW YORK - The Salisbury University volleyball team made program history Friday evening, collecting the program's first NCAA tournament second-round victory, topping SUNY New Paltz in five sets, 25-19, 17-25, 25-19, 17-25, 15-11.

"I think it shows all the hard work by former players to lay the foundation for what a great program this is and hopefully it be recognized around the country," SU head coach Margie Knight said following the emotional win. "If you weren't here, I don't think I can explain in words what it meant to the coaches and the young women on the court."

The win is just the program's third NCAA tournament victory, coming on the heels of a 3-0 win Thursday afternoon. The Sea Gulls (32-4) advance to the third round Saturday night, needing one more win to move on to the national quarterfinals next week.

On Friday, Salisbury got a couple of big performances out of a pair of freshmen hitters. Middle hitter Chelsea Glowacki (Poolesville, Md.) contributed a career-high 14 kills, against just one error on 33 attempts, for a .303 hitting percentage. Right side hitter Jenna Shay (Dunkirk, Md.) added a career-best 11 kills, including the biggest one of the night. Salisbury took a 14-8 lead in the fifth set before SUNY New Paltz (33-6) began to chip away. Up just 14-11, the Sea Gulls needed a big hit and Shay provided it, taking a perfect set from sophomore Lindsey Saltzman (Penfield, N.Y.), one of her team-high 25 sets, and hammered home the game-winning kill.

"She put a big exclamation point on the match," Knight said.

It wasn't all about the offense on this night as senior libero Gabby Long (Bel Air, Md.) did all she could to keep Salisbury's season going, registering a career-best 46 digs, besting her previous career high by six. Long also added three assists.

Salisbury got a balanced attack as senior outside hitter Rachel Downes (Salisbury, Md.) and senior middle hitter Nicole Massarelli (Clarksville, Md.) each registered nine kills and junior outside hitter Lexy Fitzkee (Fallston, Md.) added eight. Fitzkee also added 18 digs while freshman setter Carley Todd (Centerport, N.Y.) had 23 assists.

The Sea Gulls will play at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, against either host New York University or Christopher Newport University in the regional final. The winner advances to the national quarterfinals, in Cleveland, next Thursday, Nov. 19.