SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team picked up its first wins of 2014 during day one of the SU Opener tournament, defeating Stevens Institute of Technology in its first game before taking down Mount Aloysius College.
Salisbury 3, Stevens 0 (26-24, 27-25, 25-19)
The Sea Gulls and Ducks battled back-and-forth through the first two sets, with the largest deficit between the teams only growing to five points between the two games.
A kill by senior right-side hitter Julie Poston gave Salisbury its first lead, 5-4, in the first set, but two-straight kills by Stevens' Brianna Evans regained the lead, 6-5.
Stevens held a lead until SU tied the set, 10-10, and from there the teams traded points, with Salisbury grabbing its second lead, 16-15, on another Poston kill; Poston led the team with 15 in the match.
A 9-4 run put the Ducks ahead 24-20, with only one point to go for a first-set win, but a Stevens service error sparked a 6-0 run for Salisbury. A service ace by senior middle hitter Nikki Binetti, and two kills from sophomore outside hitter Katie Stouffer helped to cap the set, 26-24.
Stevens grabbed another early lead in the second set, building to the five-point cushion, 12-7. The Sea Gulls trailed in the set until tying the score late, 20-20; trailing 20-17, three-straight kills from Poston, Binetti, and sophomore outside hitter Shannon Russell brought the score even.
The teams continued to battle, but an assisted block from freshman middle hitter Samantha Chubb and Stouffer and a kill from Stouffer closed the set for SU.
Salisbury used a 9-3 run to open the third set and build an advantage, sparked by another Poston kill on the first point. Poston added a second kill in the run, while freshman setter Alexis Howatt added two service aces and Binetti added another.
The Gulls were able to build a 10-point lead, 20-10, as Poston added another set of kills, and Binetti and Stouffer, who finished second on the team with 10 kills, added one each.
Despite the Ducks cutting the lead to 23-19, Poston tallied her final kill as Salisbury took the set, 25-19.
Howatt led the team with 32 assists, while senior libero Michelle Meehan notched 17 digs.
Salisbury 3, Mt. Aloysius 0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-15)
Salisbury jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, getting two kills each from Binetti and Stouffer in the run.
Poston continued her big day, hitting four kills, and sophomore outside hitter Kirby Given added her first two kills as a Sea Gull, while SU continued to build an advantage until they led 20-5.
Binetti and Poston led SU in the match, tallying 11 and 10 kills, respectively.
SU took the first set, 25-10, and jumped out to another early lead, 8-2, in the second. Poston added two more kills, while Russell, Binetti, Stouffer, and Chubb each added one, in the early run.
Mt. Aloysius cut the lead to 10-6, but an 11-5 run built another 10-point lead for Salisbury, and Meehan capped the second set with a service ace.
The Sea Gulls began the third game in similar fashion, building a 10-2 lead, with the run starting with two Howatt service aces; Poston tallied another two kills in the spurt, as well.
Two-straight Binetti kills, followed by three-consecutive Russell service aces helped push the lead to 20-8, before Russell capped the win with the final kill.
Howatt led the team again in assists with 31, while Russell tallied a team-high six digs.
Salisbury continues the weekend tournament on Saturday, playing Swarthmore College at 12 p.m., before taking on Clark (Mass.) University at 2 p.m.