Salisbury sweeps tri-match; Howatt picks up 1,500th assist

Salisbury sweeps tri-match; Howatt picks up 1,500th assist

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team posted a sweep on Saturday defeating Capital Athletic Conference opponent Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg and then Arcadia University. Senior Alexis Howatt capped off the weekend picking up the 1,500th assist of her career in the second match of the day. 

Salisbury 3, Penn St.-Harrisburg 0

The Sea Gulls swept the Lions in the team's opening match of the afternoon behind a team hitting percentage of .342 and Nicole Venturelli's 10 kills. The maroon and gold came out firing in the first set clinching a 25-19 victory over Penn St.-Harrisburg (9-15, 1-6 CAC) totaling 15 kills and a team hitting percentage of .357. After an initial back-and-forth early Salisbury held a slim 12-10 advantage. The Gulls found their offensive rhythm going on an 11-4 scoring run, which included kills from five different Sea Gulls including three from Venturelli. After the Lions managed to pull back within five, 24-19, Lacey Swartout hammered home the set winner to give Salisbury the 1-0 advantage.

The second set was all Sea Gulls as they cruised to a 25-17 victory. As a team Salisbury totaled eight kills on 16 total attacks and a hitting percentage of .375. The defense was solid throughout the set holding Penn St.-Harrisburg to just nine kills and a hitting percentage of -.103. The maroon and gold raced out to an 11-4 advantage and never looked back leading by no fewer than five from that point on.

Both teams were unwilling to yield in the third set as each team traded points throughout the opening portion of the set. With the set tied at 12-12 the Sea Gulls embarked on an 11-1 scoring spree including a 9-0 run during the stretch behind two kills from Carley Cleland and four from Swartout. A brief scoring run by the Lions cut the deficit to just four before a Sydney Davis kill ended the set and the match.

Overall the Gulls totaled 37 kills led by Venturelli with 10 while Swartout totaled nine of her own. Cleland posted a team-best .556 hitting percentage while Davis finished just behind her teammate with a percentage of .554. Rachel Dubbs and Alexis Howatt each notched 14 assists to lead the team. Hailey Dougherty led the defensive effort with 10 digs of her own while also chipping in three service aces. The Sea Gulls combined for 16 blocks as senior Samantha Chubb posted a team-high four.

Salisbury 3, Arcadia 1

Salisbury (17-8, 5-3 CAC) completed the Saturday sweep defeating the Knights of Arcadia University (18-10) in the tri-match finale. Salisbury dominated the opening set cruising to a 25-11 victory behind 11 kills and a hitting percentage of .308. The big moment in the first set came just minutes in when Venturelli hammered home a kill off the set from senior Howatt to push the maroon and gold's lead to 8-1. It was Howatt's fourth assist of the set but more importantly it marked the 1,500th assist of her career. Howatt went on to post 18 assists in the match giving her a total of 1,514 for her career moving her into seventh place all-time in program history surpassing Rachel Pierson.

The Sea Gulls held on for a thrilling 25-23 second set victory to take a 2-0 advantage. The Sea Gulls totaled 12 kills in the set while the Knights hammered home 15 of their own. Arcadia held a 14-10 lead midway through the set but kills from three different Gulls including one from Gianna Savarese helped the maroon and gold pull ahead, 15-14. Two kills from Venturelli helped push the Sea Gulls' advantage to 24-21, before the Knights rallied back to pull within one, 24-23. A service error however, ended hopes of a comeback and sent the match to the third set.

Arcadia cruised in the third set picking up a 25-13 victory forcing the match to continue into the fourth set. Salisbury was not fazed racing out to a 12-4 lead before claiming a 25-19 victory. The maroon and gold pushed their lead to 19-8 behind four service aces, three of which came from Madison Lim. The Knights did manage to pull within four late but a kill from Swartout followed by an attacking error on Arcadia pushed the set and match final.

Venturelli tallied 17 kills to lead the team while Davis, Savarese, and Cleland combined for 17 hitting six, five, and six, respectively. Dubbs dished out 13 assists while Lim and Davis each totaled three service aces to lead the Gulls.

Defensively, Dougherty picked up 18 digs and freshman Allison Laucella gathered 13 of her own. The Gulls combined for 14 blocks including a team-best four from Davis.

Salisbury returns to action on Wednesday, October 25 when it travels just up the road to Wesley College for its last conference match of the season. The match is slated to start at 6 p.m.            

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