Russell has big day as Sea Gulls close Eastern Invitational with two wins

Russell has big day as Sea Gulls close Eastern Invitational with two wins

ST. DAVIDS, Pa. – The Salisbury University volleyball team finished out its final regular-season tournament on Saturday at Eastern University, taking 3-1 and 3-0 victories over Haverford College (25-18, 18-25, 25-22, 25-17) and Widener University (25-17, 25-20, 25-22) to improve its record to 14-5 heading in Capital Athletic Conference play.

Salisbury 3, Haverford 1

The Sea Gulls jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first set, after two kills from sophomore Katie Stouffer, each on the end of a block by freshman Samantha Chubb.

Haverford cut the lead to one, but another kill from Stouffer, followed by three-straight points, featuring kills from senior Julie Poston and sophomore Shannon Russell and a combined block by Chubb and Russell put SU ahead by four; Russell and Stouffer tied to lead the team with 12 kills each in the match.

After having the lead cut back down to two, a 7-3 run, sparked by a Russell kill, gave the Gulls a 17-11 lead. Stouffer and senior Michelle Meehan each tallied kills in the stretch, while senior Nikki Binetti and Russell added an assisted block.

The Sea Gulls held the lead, before a service ace from junior Kacey Franz grabbed the first-set victory 25-18.

Salisbury took another early lead in the second set and led until the score was 18-16, but nine-straight points by the Fords ended the set and tied the match.

The third set remained close, with the teams trading leads throughout; trailing 9-7, freshman Rachel Pierson notched a kill to spark a 5-0 spurt of the Sea Gulls to retake a 12-9 lead.

Haverford continued to keep the pressure on, retaking the lead 14-13 and trading points until the score was 19-19. From there, two kills by Poston helped Salisbury take back the lead, 22-19.

A kill from Chubb and another from Poston helped cap the set for SU's 2-1 match lead.

The Sea Gulls took the lead for good early on in the third set, 5-4, after a Fords' error, while a Stouffer kill and a Pierson service ace powered a 4-0 run for an 8-4 lead.

Another 4-0 spurt continued to build the lead for SU to 15-8, helped by a Meehan service ace, two Binetti kills, and a Russell kill.

Another kill by Binetti pushed the lead to eight, 20-12, before another Russell kill put the lead at its largest, 24-15, and Chubb put the finishing touch on the match with a final kill.

Binetti added seven kills in the match, while Pierson tallied a team-high 38 assists and Meehan grabbed a team-best 23 digs.

Salisbury 3, Widener 0

Salisbury got off to a quick start in its second match of the day, as well, taking a 9-3 lead in the early moments, as Stouffer hit home four kills in the opening run.

Continuing to grow the lead, two Russell kills, another Stouffer kill, and a Franz service ace carried a 5-0 run for a double-digit lead, 15-5. Russell continued her strong day to lead the team with 10 kills in the match.

SU's largest lead reached 20-6, before Widener would get hot and go on a 10-2 run and cut the score to 22-17, but two final kills, one from junior Colleen White and one from Meehan, ended the set, 25-17.

A kill by Binetti began the second set, sparking an opening 7-3 run, but the Pride quickly got back in to tie the score, 10-10.

Poston notched a kill to regain the lead and start an 8-4 stretch. Chubb added two kills, giving Salisbury the 18-14 lead.

The Pride would not go down easy, again keeping the score close in the closing points, 23-20, but kills from Stouffer and Chubb game SU the two-set advantage, 25-20.

The third set looked much like the first, with the Sea Gulls building a big, early lead, getting it to 15-5 after a string of three kills from Russell.

The lead got to its largest at 23-9, after kills from sophomore Tori Brokaw and Poston preluded two Widener errors, but the Pride took another late run to cut the lead to two, 24-22. Despite almost coming back, Poston tallied a block to end the set 25-22 and the match.

Stouffer, Poston, and Binetti all chipped in on a balanced attack with nine, eight, and seven kills, respectively, while Pierson and Meehan again led the Gulls in assists (28) and digs (15), respectively.

Salisbury begins CAC play on Tuesday, as No. 9 Christopher Newport University will come to Maggs Physical Activities Center; the match is set for 7 p.m.

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