PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Salisbury University volleyball team traveled to Carnegie Mellon University on Friday for the first day of the Carnegie Mellon Tournament. The Sea Gulls, for the first time all season, dropped the opening matches of a tournament as they fell to Otterbein University and host No. 13 Carnegie Mellon.
Otterbein 3, Salisbury 1
In the maroon and gold's first match of the day they fell behind the Cardinals 2-0 after dropping a tough 25-22 decision in the first set and a hard fought 25-17 second but battled back to pull within one with an impressive 25-16 victory in the third set.
After falling behind early in the third set, 4-1, the Gulls fought all the way back rallying off eight unanswered points to take a 9-4 lead. Salisbury used two kills from Nicole Venturelli, a service ace from Rachel Dubbs, and the defense forced four consecutive attack errors by Otterbein (13-0) during the scoring run. The Cardinals did manage to pull within five, 16-11, in the middle of the match but the Sea Gulls closed the match on a 9-5 run including a 5-0 run to stretch the lead to 21-10 leading to Salisbury's largest lead of the set.
Salisbury tallied three of the final four points scored in the third to close out the set and avoid a sweep.
Venturelli finished the match with a team-high 13 kills on another team-best 47 attacks. Lacey Swartout finished second on the team with seven kills while four Gulls ended the match with three each. Dubbs and Alexis Howatt combined for 24 of Salisbury's 29 total assists recording 13 and 11 respectively.
On the defensive side Hailey Dougherty and Allison Laucella tallied 12 and 11 digs each to lead the team while Venturelli totaled eight. Howatt and Sydney Davis combined for eight blocks each, which were team-highs, recording four apiece.
As a team Salisbury totaled 32 kills on 121 total attacks, 29 assists, 45 digs, and 12 block assists.
No. 13 Carnegie Mellon 3, Salisbury 0
In their second match of the evening the Sea Gulls squared off against the No. 13 ranked and host school Tartans of Carnegie Mellon (14-0). The Tartans got the better of Salisbury (10-4) cruising to a clean 3-0 sweep by scores of 25-21, 25-18, and 25-8.
Both teams battled back and forth in the opening stages of the match with the maroon and gold holding a slim 8-7 lead in the first set. After falling behind by four, 20-16, the Sea Gulls battled all the way back to cut the Carnegie Mellon lead to 21-19 behind a kill from Davis and two attack errors by the Tartan offense. However, it was not meant to be as Carnegie Mellon pulled away late scoring three of the last five points to seal the first set win.
For the match Venturelli once again led the team with 12 kills on 40 attacks and was the only Gull to tally double-digit kills. Swartout continued her solid day finishing second on the team with six kills.
Howatt posted a team-high 16 assists while Dougherty was the only Salisbury player to pick up double-digit digs posting a team-best 15.
Salisbury will return to action tomorrow, Saturday, September 23 starting at 11 a.m. when it takes on Case Western Reserve University before battling University of Mount Union at 1 p.m. to close out the tournament.