NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Salisbury University volleyball team fell on Wednesday night at No. 4 Christopher Newport University in four sets (21-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-22) in Capital Athletic Conference action.
The Sea Gulls took control early in the first set with a 10-6 lead. Junior Katie Stouffer got the Gulls going with their first kill, while adding a service ace in the opening run. Freshman Nicole Venturelli and sophomore Rachel Pierson both added kills in the opening points, as well.
Christopher Newport responded with a 6-0 run to take a 12-10 lead and continued to hold the edge until another Stouffer kill sparked a 5-2 run that took Salisbury from trailing 15-14 to leading 19-17. Stouffer notched a second kill in the spurt to power the Sea Gull surge.
The second set opened with a 5-4 advantage for the Gulls, as two kills from Stouffer and a kill from Venturelli got the team going. The pair led the team in the match, as Stouffer tallied 17 kills and Venturelli added 16. Stouffer's total moved her into a tie for eighth all-time in program history with 1,132 kills, matching former Sea Gull Courtney Moore.
The set remained close, but Salisbury was able to take a three-point lead, 13-10, after Pierson tallied a service ace, and Stouffer put down a kill. A kill from Venturelli helped push the lead to 17-12, capping a 7-2 spurt for the Sea Gulls.
However, the Captains' Brianna Sutton switched momentum with a kill, and CNU used a 13-2 closing run to tie the match, 1-1.
Christopher Newport took an early 7-4 lead in the third set, but a Stouffer service ace started a 5-0 stretch for the Sea Gulls to take a 9-7 lead. Venturelli and junior Jordan Lawson both tallied kills in the run.
The Captains brought the score back to even at 10-10, but another Lawson kill began another Salisbury run. Stouffer capped the 4-1 spurt with a solo block to make the score 14-11.
Salisbury held the lead until 17-15, when CNU tallied four-straight points to swing the score back in the Captains' favor. Christopher Newport held the lead the rest of the way, but the Sea Gulls would not go down easy, as Venturelli tallied two kills. Stouffer added another to bring the Gulls to within one, 24-23, but CNU tallied the final point to take a 2-1 match lead.
Stouffer got the fourth set going with a kill, beginning a 5-2 opening run for the Sea Gulls. The Captains came back to tie the score 5-5, and the set continued to be an back-and-forth battle through the opening points.
With the score tied 15-15, CNU went on a 9-2 run that brought the Captains to within one point of the win, 24-17.
However, the Gulls wouldn't go down without a fight, as Stouffer tallied a kill to spark a 5-0 stretch. Another Stouffer kill brought the Sea Gulls back to 24-22, but the Captains tallied the next point to take the win.
Along with the team lead in kills, Stouffer paced the Gulls with two service aces and tied with Davis to lead the team with four total blocks. Pierson led the team with 32 assists and 11 digs.
Salisbury returns to Maggs Physical Activities Center on Saturday, October 10 to host its first home conference match of the season. The Sea Gulls will host the University of Mary Washington as a part of Homecoming Weekend, with the match set for 1 p.m.