SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team dropped a tough 3-1 decision on Friday night to No. 24 Christopher Newport University. The Gulls jumped to an early 1-0 lead on the Captains but were unable to hold on as the nationally ranked squad claimed the next three sets to seal the victory.
In the opening set Salisbury (12-7, 1-2 CAC) picked up a 1-0 lead with a 25-19 win. The Sea Gulls fell behind early but managed to rally back to take a 14-10 lead mid-way through the first set. A Sydney Davis kill pushed the maroon and gold advantage to five, 17-12, just moments later leading to a Christopher Newport timeout. A kill by Rachel Dubbs and service aces from both Hailey Dougherty and Amanda Rodriguez stretched the Sea Gulls' advantage to their largest of the match at nine, 22-13. After a small run by the Captains to pull within six, 24-18, Nicole Venturelli hammered home the set winner to give the Gulls the lead.
Both teams came out hot in the second set battling back and forth with no team holding more than a four-point lead in the opening stages. After Christopher Newport took a 14-10 lead, Salisbury rallied back tallying five-straight points to take a 15-14 lead. Sea Gulls Gianna Savarese and Carley Cleland each tallied kills while Dubbs posted a service ace during the 5-0 run. However, Christopher Newport battled back to a late three-point lead, 22-19. The maroon and gold would not be deterred however battling back to within one on three separate occasions and even tied the set at 23-23. It was not meant to be though as the Captains tallied the final two points to knot the match at one.
The Captains cruised to victories the final two sets by scores of 25-16 and 25-18. It was defense that dominated the final two sets as neither team hit over .160 or totaled more than 11 kills as Salisbury combined for just 17 kills in the final two sets while Christopher Newport combined for 18.
Venturelli led the Sea Gulls as the only player to total double-digit kills with 10 while Davis finished second with eight and Cleland posted seven. Rodriguez finished the match with a team-best two service aces while Dubbs and Dougherty each tallied one.
On the defensive side, Dougherty led the team with 23 digs and was the only member of the maroon and gold to post double-digit digs. Freshman Allison Laucella finished second with nine while Venturelli and Rodriguez each recorded eight. A trio of Gulls: Davis, Savarese, and Cleland rounded out the match with three total blocks.
Salisbury returns to action on Saturday, October 7 when it hosts the University of Mary Washington. The match is slated to start at 2 p.m.