ST. DAVIDS, Pa. - The Salisbury University volleyball team opened its final 2014 regular-season tournament on Friday night against No. 14 Eastern University, dropping its first match of the weekend 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-19).
The Sea Gulls (12-5) took an early 2-1 lead in the first set after a kill from sophomore Katie Stouffer and a service ace by senior Nikki Binetti, but Eastern tied the game with a kill and took a nine-point lead, 15-6, using a 13-4 run to follow knotting the score.
Trailing 23-13, another kill from Stouffer, who led the Sea Gulls with nine in the match, and a kill from senior Julie Poston sparked a 5-1 run to cut the score to 24-18, but a final Eagle kill ended the first set.
The second set began 2-0 in favor of Eastern, before a combined block from Stouffer, Binetti, and freshman Rachel Pierson put SU on the board. Kills from Pierson and classmate Samantha Chubb helped keep the score close, 4-3.
The Eagles (15-4) built a 10-5 lead, but an 8-5 Sea Gull stretch cut the lead back down to two, 15-13. A kill from Poston sparked the run, which included kills from Binetti and Chubb and two kills and a service ace from Stouffer.
Despite decreasing the deficit, Salisbury fell in the set after a 10-2 spurt by Eastern ended the game for the 2-0 match advantage.
SU took an early 9-6 lead in the third set. A Binetti kill registered Salisbury's first point, and with the score tied 6-6 kills from Chubb and Poston powered a 3-0 run to gain the advantage. The trio finished the match with three, four, and five kills, respectively.
Eastern grabbed the lead, 10-9, but another kill from Binetti evened the set again, 10-10, while kills from senior Michelle Meehan and Stouffer gave the lead back to the Gulls 13-11.
The lead remained until the Eagles tied the game 16-16; the teams traded points until the score was 18-18. From there, Eastern finished the set on a 7-1 run to take the match.
Pierson finished the night with 22 assists to lead the team, while Meehan tallied 14 digs for a team high.
Salisbury continues the tournament on Saturday, September 27, beginning with a 12 p.m., match against Haverford College, before taking on Widener University; that match is set for 2 p.m.