Sea Gulls match best start in program history, win two to end Sea Gull Classic

Sea Gulls match best start in program history, win two to end Sea Gull Classic

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team matched the best start in program history, improving its record to 8-0; the Sea Gulls grabbed two more wins on Saturday over William Peace University, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-18), and Eastern Mennonite University, 3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-17) in day two of the Sea Gull Classic. With the wins, Salisbury went 4-0 on the weekend to claim the tournament title.

Salisbury 3, William Peace 0

William Peace took an early lead in the first set, after kills from Tempestt Frazier and Merica Ivey, 3-1, and continued to build the advantage to 17-10. However, senior Julie Poston fired off one of her eight kills for the match to start a 9-0 SU run. Five service aces from senior Michelle Meehan led the spurt, while senior Nikki Binetti added two kills to give the Gulls a 19-17 lead; Binetti finished the match with 12 kills, tied for the team lead.

The Pacers used a 4-0 stretch of their own to regain the lead, 21-19, but consecutive kills from Poston, freshman Alexis Howatt, and sophomore Shannon Russell put the Sea Gulls ahead, 22-21, before two more Binetti kills helped win the set, 25-22.

With a Russell service ace to start the second set, Salisbury built a quick 3-0 lead, but William Peace fought back to tie the game, 3-3.

With the teams tied, 5-5, two-straight kills from sophomore Katie Stouffer sparked a 5-1 run to put the Gulls ahead 10-6, which was finished by two service aces by sophomore Gina Fischetti; Stouffer was the other Sea Gull to finish with 12 kills.

The Pacers again tied the score with a 4-0 run, as the teams continued to battle back and forth for the entire set. With the score tied 23-23, a William Peace service error preluded a final kill from Poston to cap the win, 25-23, and gain a 2-0 advantage in the match.

Two-straight kills to open the third game by Stouffer, followed by a Binetti service ace grabbed another 3-0 lead for Salisbury, however, William Peace fought back to eventually hold a 12-9 lead.

A kill from Russell marked the beginning of a 5-0 run to bring Salisbury back with a 14-12 lead; Poston added two service aces in the stretch, while Binetti added another kill.

WPU tied the game, 14-14, but Salisbury went on an 11-4 run to end the final game and the match, 25-18. Binetti sparked the final run with two-straight kills, before Russell ripped off two-consecutive service aces.

After a Poston kill, a William Peace attack error ended the match in favor of SU.

For the match, Howatt led the team with 29 assists, while Meehan led with 10 digs.

Salisbury 3, Eastern Mennonite 0

Tied 4-4 in the first set, Meehan used three service aces to power a 5-0 run that gave the Sea Gulls an early 9-4 lead.

After a kill from Russell, a service ace from Poston, and two kills from Binetti, SU increased the lead to 13-5.

Salisbury eventually built the lead to double digits, 21-11, before going on to take the first set, 25-15.

The Royals kept the second set close in the early moments, with SU leading, 9-8, after an EMU service ace, but consecutive kills from Binetti and freshman Rachel Pierson helped Salisbury push the lead to 14-8, sparking a 5-0 spurt.

Eastern Mennonite cut the lead to three, 15-12, but Salisbury ended the set on a 10-3 run to take the victory, 25-15. Fischetti ended the set with a service ace.

The third set began with Salisbury holding a slight lead, 4-3, but a kill from Russell, followed by another service ace from Fischetti and a kill from freshman Samantha Chubb helped push the lead to 8-3.

Salisbury had the lead cut to 11-10, but went on another run of five-straight points, as Meehan tallied a kill and Stouffer hit two in a row to gain a six-point cushion.

The deficit grew as large as 20-11, and despite the Royals fighting back to cut the lead to 20-15, Salisbury used a 5-2 closing run to end the set on a kill from junior Colleen White and grabbed the victory, 25-17.

Stouffer led the team with 13 kills in the match, while Pierson tallied a team-high 16 assists; Russell and Meehan led the defense with 15 and 14 digs, respectively.

The weekend ended with three Sea Gulls being named to the all-tournament team, as Meehan was named the tournament most valuable player; she was joined by Stouffer and Russell

Salisbury now looks forward to hosting Johns Hopkins University on Tuesday at Maggs Physical Activities Center; the match is set for 7 p.m.

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