Sports

Inside the Salisbury schedule: 2017 Women’s Volleyball

By Chris Mackowiak

Sports Editor

@cmackowiakSGSN

The Salisbury University women’s volleyball team comes off a very successful 2016 campaign that ended earlier than desired. The Sea Gulls battled to a 20-8 record while going 8-1 in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC). That one conference loss was at Mary Washington, a team that advanced all the way to the NCAA Quarterfinals.

These Sea Gulls are still hoping and dreaming for an NCAA Tournament bid this time around. The formidable opponents within the conference for that automatic bid continue to be Christopher Newport and Mary Washington, whom the Sea Gulls draw in Salisbury this season.

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The Sea Gulls celebrate their 2016 Sea Gull Classic title. Chris Mackowiak photo

Most notable to fans in 2017 will be the loss of this past senior class. The five-senior class consisted of defensive specialists Gina Fischetti, Krista Pecenka and Shannon Russell, middle-hitter Jordan Lawson and outside hitter Katie Stouffer.

Stouffer is likely the name most familiar to fans, a type of ‘clutch’ athlete that could find the ball and the points when the team needed them. Now in 2017, the team looks for others to step up and potentially take that roll.

The 2017 slate is not an easy one, like other seasons. Notably, Salisbury opens the first weekend of the season with their annual Sea Gull Classic at home, but then they stay on the road for over a month until Oct. 6. It will be a test of keeping consistency with their momentum and confidence over the non-conference portion of the schedule.

Below The Flyer names five matches to watch for from the 2017 schedule. While many matches could make the top-five, we chose those we felt had the most impact on the Sea Gulls’ attempt for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Top-five matches to watch for in 2017:

Sept. 1 – vs. Swarthmore, in Sea Gull Classic (Salisbury, Md.)

  • 2016: 27-5 (8-2 CC); fell to JHU in CC Championship
  • won ECAC Tournament vs. NYU

The Sea Gulls do not have any easy task on the first day of the 2017 season. Swarthmore comes to Salisbury as one the teams participating in the annual Sea Gull Classic, coming off 2016 as ECAC Tournament Champions. Just like Salisbury, Swarthmore did not make it into the coveted NCAA Tournament, but they strung together 27 wins over the course of last season’s campaign. Along with their same-day match vs. Medaille, Salisbury will have the home court on their side opening weekend.

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Salisbury meets in the team huddle before a match. Sophie Wilson photo

Sept. 22 – at Carnegie Mellon, in Carnegie Mellon Tournament (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

  • 2016 result: SU lost 3-1 at a neutral site
  • 2016: 25-8 (4-3 UAA); fell to Emory in UAA Championship
  • fell to DePauw 3-1 in NCAA First Round

Salisbury’s fourth tournament of the season takes them into western Pennsylvania on the home court of Carnegie Mellon, a team that won 25 times in 2016 alongside claiming an NCAA Tournament at large bid. Carnegie Mellon offers Salisbury a top taste at NCAA Tournament talent and what it may take for the Sea Gulls to get there. It is also an opportunity for preparation for CAC opponents like CNU and Mary Washington down the line. Not to mention, this match will offer excellent volleyball from both sides.

Oct. 6 – vs. Christopher Newport University

  • 2016 result: SU won 3-1 at CNU; SU lost 3-2 at home in CAC Semis
  • 2016: 25-10 (7-2 CAC); CAC runner-up
  • fell to Johns Hopkins in NCAA First Round

With two out of the top-five featured as non-conference match-ups, The Flyer jumps right into conference play with SU’s first home match in over a month when they host rival CNU. During the 2016 regular season, it was Salisbury that came out on top, ending a long losing streak to the Captains. In CNU-Salisbury rivalry fashion, the CAC Semifinals offered fireworks on the court in Maggs Physical Activities Center. Fans turned out for a fantastic final two sets, despite the Sea Gulls eventually falling 3-2 at the end of the night. For Salisbury to contend for a CAC title in 2017, this is a crucial match to win on their home floor.

Oct. 7 – vs. University of Mary Washington

  • 2016 result: SU lost 3-0 at UMW
  • 2016: 31-4 (8-1 CAC); CAC Champion
  • fell in NCAA Quarterfinals 3-2 to Washington (Mo.)

Mary Washington was dominant for most of the 2016 season. They put together a run all the way to the final eight in the NCAA Tournament. Salisbury fell in straight sets to the Eagles last season, but this time around the Sea Gulls draw UMW on their home floor. Not only is this a top match-up with a CAC opponent, it is also day two of a tough CAC stretch with this match coming the day after the CNU one. This two-day stretch could ultimately determine Salisbury’s stance in the CAC Tournament.

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Salisbury warms up before a match. Chris Mackowiak photo

Oct. 17 – at Marymount University (Va.)

  • 2016 result: SU won 3-0 at home
  • 2016: 25-9 (7-2 CAC); fell in CAC semifinals
  • Fell to Emerson in ECAC Semifinals

Salisbury took down the Saints in straight sets in Maggs last season. This time around, Marymount hosts the Sea Gulls after both teams were knocked out in the conference semifinals. This match makes the top-five because it is a big result for SU to get in order to keep their place in the top-three of the CAC. Marymount was the next team to challenge Salisbury from behind last season.

Remaining schedule (home matches in bold):

Sept. 1 – vs. Medaille, in Sea Gull Classic (Salisbury, Md.)

  • 2016: 6-20 (3-6 AMCC)

Sept. 2 – vs. Geneva, in Sea Gull Classic (Salisbury, Md.)

  • 2016: 22-12 (15-3 PAC); fell in PAC Semifinals

Sept. 2 – vs. Stevenson, in Sea Gull Classic (Salisbury, Md.)

  • SU won 3-1 at neutral site
  • 2016: 26-8 (8-0 MAC Commonwealth); MAC Commonwealth Champions
  • lost 3-1 to Randolph-Macon in NCAA First Round

Sept. 8 – vs. Ursinus, in CUA Guetle Invitational (Washington, D.C.)

  • 2016: 8-14 (1-9 CC)

Sept. 8 – vs. William Peace, in CUA Guetle Invitational (Washington, D.C.)

  • 2016: 24-8 (11-4 USA South-East, 3rd)

Sept. 9 – vs. Pittsburgh-Greensburg, in CUA Guetle Invitational (Washington, D.C.)

  • 2016: 8-21 (4-5 AMCC)

Sept. 9 – at Catholic University of America, in CUA Guetle Invitational (Washington, D.C.)

  • 2016: 26-11 (4-2 Landmark); fell 3-0 at Susquehanna in Landmark Semifinals

Sept. 15 – vs. Moravian, in Knights Invitational (Aston, Pa.)

  • 2016: 19-15 (2-4 Landmark)

Sept. 15 – at Neumann, in Knights Invitational (Aston, Pa.)

  • 2016: 18-18 (9-2 CSAC); fell 3-0 at Keystone in CSAC Semifinals
  • Defeated by Moravian 3-0 in ECAC Tournament first round

Sept. 16 – vs. TBD, in Knights Invitational (Aston, Pa.)

Sept. 16 – vs. Cabrini, in Knights Invitational (Aston, Pa.)

  • 2016: 18-15 (11-0 CSAC); CSAC Champions
  • Fell 3-0 at Mary Washington in NCAA Tournament

Sept. 22 – vs. Otterbein, in Carnegie Mellon Tournament (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

  • 2016: 16-14 (4-5 OAC); fell to Mount Union 3-2 in OAC Quarterfinals

Sept. 23 – vs. Case Western Reserve, in Carnegie Mellon Tournament (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

  • 2016: 21-10 (2-5 UAA)

Sept. 23 – vs. Mount Union, in Carnegie Mellon Tournament (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

  • 2016: 19-9 (7-2 OAC); fell in OAC Semifinals 3-1 vs Heidelberg

Sept. 29 – at Southern Virginia University

  • 2016 result: SU won 3-0 at home
  • 2016: 8-15 (3-6 CAC)

Sept. 30 – at Frostburg State University

  • 2016 result: SU won 3-0 at home
  • 2016: 12-18 (2-7 CAC)

Oct. 14 – at St. Mary’s College of Maryland

  • 2016 result: SU won 3-1 at home
  • 2016: 21-12 (5-4 CAC)

Oct. 20 – vs. York College (Pa.)

  • 2016 result: SU won 3-0 at York
  • 2016: 21-10 (4-5 CAC)

Oct. 21 – vs. Penn State University – Harrisburg

  • 2016 result: SU won 3-0 at PSH
  • 2016: 7-20 (1-8 CAC)

Oct. 21 – vs. Arcadia

  • 2016: 16-14 (3-5 MAC Commonwealth)
  • Fell in ECAC Tournament First Round

Oct. 25 – at Wesley College

  • 2016 result: SU won 3-0 at home
  • 2016: 11-17 (0-9 CAC)

Oct. 27 – at Virginia Wesleyan University

  • 2016 result: SU won 3-1 at home
  • 2016: 16-15 (6-5 ODAC); fell in ODAC Quarterfinals

CAC Tournament: Oct. 31, Nov. 2 and Nov. 4

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