SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team fell in a hard-fought, five-set match on Monday afternoon 3-2 to Johns Hopkins University (26-24, 22-25, 25-19, 22-25, 16-14).
The Blue Jays were able to build multiple leads in the first set, but Salisbury continually had an answer. Trailing 10-6, freshman Nicole Venturelli put down a kill to spark a 5-0 run for the Gulls to take their first lead of the match. Junior Katie Stouffer tallied three of her team-leading 22 kills to power the stretch and put the score at 11-10.
Johns Hopkins was able to take back the lead, but with the score 19-15, Salisbury against responded with a 5-1 run, capped by a block from sophomore Samantha Chubb and junior Jordan Lawson to tie the score 20-20.
Another block by Chubb and Stouffer regained a 23-22 lead for Salisbury, but the Blue Jays took the first set on a closing 4-1 spurt.
The second set began with the teams battling in a close game, before three-straight service aces from junior Shannon Russell gave the Sea Gulls a 13-8 advantage.
Salisbury would not relinquish the lead in the set, as a kill from Stouffer pushed the lead to 23-16. Hopkins made a comeback push with a 6-1 run to get to within two, 24-22, but a Lawson kill capped the set and tied the match for SU.
The Sea Gulls were able to take the early advantage in the third game, with a Chubb kill giving them an 11-8 lead.
Sophomore Sydney Davis added a kill to keep the lead at 14-11, but a 10-3 Blue Jay run flipped the score 21-17 in favor of Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays held the lead to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.
The fourth set was another close battle, with neither team taking more than a four-point lead. Stouffer tallied a kill to give Salisbury an 11-9 lead in the early moments, before adding two more later on to give the team a 19-15 edge.
The Sea Gulls held the lead for the rest of the set, as Davis and Lawson each notched a kill and Venturelli added two in the final points for the set win to again tie the match.
Stouffer set the pace early in the fifth set, with a kill for the game's first point. Trailing 6-5, Venturelli put down a kill to tie the set and begin a 5-0 Salisbury run. Junior Gina Fischetti hit three service aces in the spurt to make the score 10-6.
The Blue Jays fought back to tie the set 12-12 to begin a back-and-forth ending to the match. With Ali Cox serving with a 14-13 lead, looking to end the match for Johns Hopkins, Stouffer came through for Salisbury with a kill to tie the set 14-14.
However, two Hopkins kills ended the set and gave the Blue Jays the win.
Venturelli finished second on the team with 11 kills, while Russell paced the team with 17 digs. Senior Kacey Franz added 16 digs in the effort, and sophomore Rachel Pierson led the team with 26 assists.
The Sea Gulls return to action on Friday, September 11 in the Buttermaker Tournament at Muhlenberg College. Salisbury's first match of the weekend will be against Rowan University at 4 p.m.