Sea Gulls down Saints in hard-fought match, advance to CAC semifinals

Sea Gulls down Saints in hard-fought match, advance to CAC semifinals

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Salisbury University volleyball team avenged a loss from earlier this season and advanced to the Capital Athletic Conference semifinals on Tuesday night, with a 3-1 (26-28, 25-21, 25-23, 25-22) victory at Marymount (Va.) University.

The first set opened with neither team able to take much of a lead. A service ace from junior Kacey Franz, followed by a kill from sophomore Jordan Lawson, gave SU a 7-5 lead, but the Saints were able to use a 4-0 run to retake the lead 9-7.

The teams continued to battle and trade leads, but with the score tied 12-12, a kill by sophomore Shannon Russell sparked an 8-2 run. The spurt included two kills from sophomore Katie Stouffer to give the Sea Gulls a 20-15 lead; Stouffer led the team with 19 kills on the night.

Marymount answered to tie the score 21-21, before taking a 25-24 lead, but another Stouffer kill and a service ace from freshman Alexis Howatt flipped the score 26-25 for SU.

However, the Saints took the final three points for the first set, 28-26.

After kills from Russell and Stouffer to begin the second frame, the Gulls took an early 6-1 lead.

Fighting back to tie the score, Marymount eventually took a 15-13 lead, but a kill from senior Julie Poston got the Sea Gulls back on track to regain a 17-15 advantage.

SU never conceded the lead again, as two kills from freshman Samantha Chubb in the final points helped the Gulls take a 25-21 victory to tie the match.

The Saints took a quick 3-0 lead in the third set, but a kill from Poston and an assisted block by Stouffer and Chubb cut the advantage, before tying the frame 3-3.

The teams continued to play another tight set all the way through, but a service ace from senior Nikki Binetti gave SU a 23-21 lead, before two Stouffer kills were able to close the set.

With the help of a Russell service ace and a Poston kill, Salisbury opened the fourth set with a 3-0 lead, before another Poston kill kept the lead at three, 6-3.

The Sea Gulls continued to increase the lead, as Poston and Stouffer tallied kills, building the score to 18-10, but the Saints answered with a 5-0 run to cut the lead to three.

Marymount kept fighting, eventually cutting the score to 21-20, but a Chubb kill powered a 4-2 closing run to take the match.

Freshman Rachel Pierson and Howatt led the setting with 23 and 21 assists, respectively, while senior Michelle Meehan paced the defense with 29 digs.

Salisbury now looks forward to second-seeded Southern Virginia University, traveling to the Knights for the CAC semifinals on Thursday, November 6; the match is set for 7 p.m.

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