HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Salisbury University volleyball team traveled to Huntingdon, Pennsylvania on Friday to begin the ASICS Invitational at Juniata College, dropping both matches of day one 3-0 to Juniata (25-18, 26-24, 25-13) and 3-2 to Franklin & Marshall College (25-17, 26-24, 24-26, 23-25, 15-9).
Juniata 3, Salisbury 0
While Juniata held an early lead, Salisbury kept the score close, as kills from sophomore Katie Stouffer, senior Nikki Binetti, and sophomore Shannon Russell only allowed the Eagles to take an early one-point lead, 6-5.
Juniata began to grow the lead from there, using an 11-6 run to push the score to 17-11.
Salisbury continued to battle, as a kill from Russell and two late kills from senior Julie Poston didn't allow the Eagles to increase the deficit, 24-18, but an SU service error allowed the opponent to take a 25-18 win in the first set.
A kill from freshman Samantha Chubb sparked a 6-3 opening run for Salisbury in the second set. Chubb teamed with Stouffer, who also tallied a kill in the stretch, on a block, before Russell would add a service ace, powering the early spurt.
Gaining the lead, Juniata used a 6-0 run to flip the score, 9-6, while continuing the build its advantage to 21-12.
Chubb teamed up for another block, this time with Poston, sparking a 12-3 run that tied the score 24-24.
Two kills, each, from Stouffer and Poston, and two service aces from senior Michelle Meehan cut the lead to only three, before a Russell kill, followed by a service ace from sophomore Gina Fischetti tied the set.
However, an SU attack error preceded a final Eagle kill from Nakita Gearhart, putting Salisbury in a 2-0 hole in the match.
The Eagles controlled the final set from the start, building a quick 7-0 lead in the game.
A kill from Poston, who led the Sea Gulls with eight in the match, put Salisbury on the board, and a 4-2 run, capped by a kill from sophomore Jordan Lawson cut the lead to 9-4.
From there, Juniata continued to built the deficit, before taking a 25-13 win in the set to close the match.
Stouffer finished with six kills, while Binetti and Russell both notched five; freshman Alexis Howatt led the Gulls with 17 assists, while Meehan led the defense with 10 digs.
Franklin & Marshall 3, Salisbury 2
Franklin & Marshall was able to take the first two sets to gain the early lead in the match, 2-0, but the Sea Gulls fought back with 26-24 and 25-23 wins in the third and fourth sets, respectively, to tie the match.
In the fifth set, SU led early 3-2, but a 6-0 run by the Diplomats built an 8-3 deficit for the Sea Gulls. From there, Franklin & Marshall was able to take the final set 15-9 and win the match.
Salisbury was led by Poston's 12 kills, while Stouffer added 11. Meehan paced the defense with 13 digs, while freshman Rachel Pierson registered a team-high 29 assists.
The Sea Gulls will continue the ASICS Invitational on Saturday, taking on State University of New York at Cortland in an 11 a.m., match.