Stouffer's career day leads Sea Gulls to two wins to close SU Opener tournament

Stouffer's career day leads Sea Gulls to two wins to close SU Opener tournament

SALISBURY, Md. – In a day for the record books, sophomore outside hitter Katie Stouffer, of the Salisbury University volleyball team, took hold of No. 2 and No. 3 for most kills in a match in program history. The Sea Gulls started the day with a 3-2 victory over Swarthmore College, with Stouffer hitting 31 kills to move into No. 2, before jumping her own total in the next game with 32 kills, as SU took down Clark (Mass.) University, 3-2. The total came up just two kills short of tying former Sea Gull Stacey Krebs' program record of 34 kills in one match.

"That is pretty nice, I have to say," Stouffer said of putting her name into the record books. "But, it's not just about one person. There are six people, and if they were not there, I never would have been able to get those 32 and 31."

Salisbury 3, Swarthmore 2 (24-26, 28-26, 25-19, 24-26, 15-4)

Swarthmore led for much of the first set, but the Sea Gulls never trailed by more than four points and tied the score on multiple occasions, including a late 24-24 score.  However, two Sea Gull errors gave the Garnet the first set victory.

SU rebounded, taking the first lead of the second set, 1-0, on a kill by senior middle hitter Nikki Binetti, and two kills from senior right-side hitter Julie Poston and a kill from Stouffer helped build the lead to 6-4.

Swarthmore tied the set, 6-6, and eventually led 15-10, but four Stouffer kills led a 7-2 stretch that tied the set, 17-17; Stouffer tallied eight kills in the set to lead the team, on the way to her 31 for the match.

With neither team building a lead by more than one point from there, Swarthmore led late, 26-25, but a kill from freshman middle hitter Samantha Chubb, followed by Stouffer's final two of the set, tied the match, 1-1.

The third set began with a 4-0 run by SU, with the help of two service aces by sophomore outside hitter Shannon Russell.

The Gulls held the lead, but Swarthmore fought back to tie the score, 13-13, before Salisbury ended the set on a 12-6 run, with five Stouffer kills leading the way.

Despite Salisbury dropping the fourth set, Stouffer added another eight-kill set to continue the beginning of her big day.

SU took control of the fifth set, using three kills each from Stouffer and Poston. Two kills from Binetti and an assisted block by Chubb and Stouffer built an initial 4-1 lead, before the first Stouffer kill and two more blocks, with Chubb teaming with Stouffer on the first and Poston on the second, pushed the score to 7-3 and started an 8-0 SU run. A service ace from freshman setter Alexis Howatt and the final kills from Stouffer and Poston capped the run and propelled the Sea Gulls to their first victory.

Howatt led the team with 52 assists, while adding 10 digs, and senior libero Michelle Meehan led with 27 digs, while Russell added 23.

Salisbury 3, Clark (Mass.) 2 (23-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-23, 15-7)

Clark opened the first set with a 15-8 lead, but Stouffer began her second big match with three-straight kills to help cut the lead to 15-12 and six total to lead a 9-2 run that tied the score, 17-17; she finished the set with nine kills. However, Clark was able to regain the lead and take the first set.

The Sea Gulls led early in the second set, but the Cougars kept the score close and were able build a 2-0 lead in the match.

The score remained close in the third set, until SU led 11-10, before ripping of a 10-0 spurt. Sophomore middle hitter Kirby Given and Howatt combined for two blocks, while Stouffer tallied another four kills and Binetti notched two service aces and a kill in the stretch.

Able to grab the third-set victory, SU forced a fourth, which remained close the entire game.

Salisbury led for the first time 5-3 after two Stouffer kills and held the lead until the teams were tied, 14-14. The teams traded points, but with the scored knotted, 23-23, two Binetti kills pushed the match to a fifth set.

The Gulls again took control in the final set, opening with a 9-1 run, with Stouffer tallying her final four kills, giving her a career-high 32 for the match and second all-time in program history. Poston also had two kills in the opening run.

Clark fought back, but SU took the set, 15-7, for the match win.

Howatt had another big match with 57 assists, 11 digs, and seven total blocks, all of which are career-highs. She tied Meehan for the team lead in digs.

Salisbury now looks forward to the Sea Gull Classic tournament next weekend, starting on Friday, September 5, with its first game against Virginia Wesleyan College at 4 p.m., at Maggs Physical Activities Center.

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