Salisbury falls to Stevenson, 3-0, in NCAA regional first round

Salisbury falls to Stevenson, 3-0, in NCAA regional first round

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Salisbury University volleyball team saw its season come to an end on Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Division III regional tournament at Juniata College, falling to No. 21 Stevenson University, 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-20).

Salisbury was led by juniors Mattie Smith and Julie Poston with seven and six kills, respectively, on the night.

The Sea Gulls fell into an early, 6-1, deficit in the first set, with Stevenson opening the match with three kills and two blocks.

After a Mustang service error, freshman Gretchen Vandermeer tallied two-straight service aces to power a 4-0 stretch to bring Salisbury within one point of the lead.

Kills from freshman Katie Stouffer, junior Kirby Buttry, Smith, and Poston helped the Gulls keep the score close as they trailed by three, 14-11, before Poston and Smith sandwiched two Stevenson attack errors with kills, giving Salisbury a 15-14 lead.

With the score tied, 16-16, Stevenson looked to take control of the set with a late 7-0 run, but the Sea Gulls responded with 7-1 spurt of their own to cut the lead to 24-23. Stouffer tallied two more kills and teamed up with Buttry for an assisted block in the stretch.

Despite the late run, the Mustangs got the final point as the Gulls fell in the first set.

In the start of the second set, Vandermeer grabbed another service ace, while Poston and senior Tam Weems each registered kills, allowing Salisbury to take an early 8-6 lead.

Poston tallied another kill, as Salisbury took its lead to 11-9, but, from there, Stevenson took a 16-3 run to close the set and take a 2-0 lead in the match.

With the help of kills from Stouffer and Buttry, the Sea Gulls took a quick, 3-1, lead in the third set, but the Mustangs were able to turn the advantage and build a lead to 11-6.

Two kills by Smith sparked the Gulls to begin a 13-4 run.  Smith tallied three kills, total, in the stretch, and Vandermeer regained the lead for Salisbury with four-straight service aces to continue her big serving night. Weems and junior Michelle Meehan also registered kills in the run, while Meehan added a service ace, as well.

After calling a timeout, the Mustangs regrouped and went on a 10-1 tear to come back in the set and take the match.

Sophomore Kacey Franz led the Gulls with nine assists, while Vandermeer added eight and set a career-high with seven service aces. Meehan led the team with eight digs.

Salisbury finished the season with a 29-6 record, while advancing to its third-straight NCAA regional tournament and Capital Athletic Conference championship game.

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