SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team began play in the Sea Gull Classic on Friday afternoon and evening, collecting a pair victories, topping McDaniel College, 3-2, before claiming a 3-1 win against Virginia Wesleyan College.
Match 1: Salisbury 3, McDaniel 2
The Sea Gulls found themselves in a one-game hole, dropping the opening set to the Green Terror, but came back twice to collect a 14-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-16, 15-10 victory.
McDaniel hit .360 in the opening set, with no errors, jumping out to a 10-3 lead and never seeing the Sea Gulls cut the lead inside five points for the remainder of the opening stanza.
Salisbury fell behind in the second, 3-1, but put together a 6-1 run which was sparked by kills from seniors Katie Stouffer and Jordan Lawson. Lawson led the way in the set with six kills on just eight swings for the Gulls, while Stouffer added five.
After McDaniel cut its deficit to one point, senior Shannon Russell stepped to the service line and rattled off six-straight points, including two aces. She had three aces in the match.
The third set was close throughout, with the Sea Gulls holding a slim lead late, but McDaniel came up with kills from Caroline Savin and Patricia Davie to win the set.
Salisbury would not go quietly, turning things up in the final two sets, with the team's two best hitting sets at the end. The Gulls hit .276 in the fourth set, with Lawson and sophomore Nicole Venturelli each posting three kills in the set and junior Sydney Davis coming up with a pair of blocks to hold the Green Terror to a -.032 hitting percentage in the frame.
In the fifth, Salisbury jumped ahead, 4-1 and stretched the lead to 10-4 with three kills from Lawson. The senior led the Sea Gulls in the match, hitting a team-best .367 with 14 kills.
Salisbury got 21 kills from Stouffer, while Venturelli added 11. Junior Alexis Howatt had 34 assists in the contest, with junior Samantha Chubb assisting on three blocks. Russell anchored the defense with 19 digs.
Match 2: Salisbury 3, Virginia Wesleyan 1
In the nightcap, Salisbury (4-2) battled to hand the Marlins a defeat, taking the final match of the day 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 25-16.
The Sea Gulls again found themselves in a small deficit early, but clawed back from a 9-3 hole with kills from Davis and Venturelli to get within three. A run by the Marlins stretched the lead back to six points for the visitors, but Salisbury saved some magic for the end of the set, rolling off a 12-3 run to claim the first set.
Venturelli notched three of her six kills in the set during the closing run, while Davis closed the set with a kill off a Howatt assist. It was the start of a career match for Venturelli, who posted a career-best 22 kills in the contest, hitting .370 on 46 attempts.
Venturelli and Stouffer each recorded six kills in the second set, as Salisbury grabbed an early lead and maintained the advantage through the period.
After the Marlins (3-4) claimed their only set in the third, Salisbury left little doubt in the fourth set, coming up with an 11-4 run to close out the contest, with Venturelli ripping three kills in the closing spurt, and fittingly getting the kill to close out the match.
Howatt had 43 assists in the contest, a season best for her, while Stouffer tacked on 17 kills. Davis led the defensive effort with a career-high seven block assists, while Russell had another 19 digs and freshman Hailey Dougherty and Howatt each had a dozen digs. The Sea Gulls came up with nine total blocks in the contest, the most the team has had this season in a match.
Salisbury returns to action on Saturday, September 10 at 11 a.m., taking on Marywood University, and then battling Elizabethtown College at 1 p.m.