CHESTERTOWN, Pa. – The Salisbury University women's volleyball team competed in the Washington College Volleyball Tournament on Saturday afternoon. The Sea Gulls defeated Centennial Conference opponent Franklin & Marshall College 3-0 in the first match of the day and then dropped a gut wrenching 3-2 decision to host Washington College.
Salisbury (17-7) swept the Diplomats (16-8) in three sets winning by scores of 26-24, 25-15, and 25-21. As a team the Sea Gulls posted a hitting percentage of .227, totaled 38 kills, and held F&M to a total hitting percentage of .113.
In the first set Salisbury jumped out to a 6-3 lead early but eventually found themselves trailing 20-16 late in the set. Nicole Venturelli sparked the first of two 4-0 runs for the Sea Gulls that would tie the match at 20-20 before F&M retook the lead at 24-22. Then it was Katie Stouffer's turn to start a scoring run tallying three kills over the final four points scored to help Salisbury rally back and take the opening set by the final of 26-24.
In the second set holding a slim 8-5 advantage the Sea Gulls used a 12-5 run to jump out to a 20-10 lead. Three different players tallied kills during the scoring spree including three apiece from both Stouffer and Venturelli. Venturelli would tally two kills over the final three points scored to finish off the set and give Salisbury the 2-0 advantage. Overall, the Sea Gulls totaled a .259 team hitting percentage, tallied 11 kills, and committed only four errors to the Diplomats seven.
In the decisive third and final set Salisbury jumped out to an 8-4 lead and never looked back enroute to the 25-21 victory. F&M pulled within two points or less on 12 separate occasions but each time the Sea Gulls had an answer to secure the victory and avenge an earlier season defeat to the Diplomats.
Stouffer and Venturelli combined for 23 kills tallying 13 and 10 each respectively. Sydney Davis posted a .462 hitting percentage and recorded seven kills of her own in the match. Rachel Dubbs rounded out the top performances totaling a match high two service aces.
Salisbury held a 2-1 lead in the second match of the afternoon but Washington College (11-12) rallied back to capture sets four and five to claim the dramatic five set victory. It is the Sea Gulls second loss since September 17 when they fell to now No. 15 Eastern University at the F&M Scramble.
After dropping the opening set 26-24 the Sea Gulls rallied back to win sets two and three in convincing fashion 25-13 and 25-11. In the second set victory Salisbury held a slim 12-9 lead before a 6-2 run sparked by a Stouffer kill to stretch the lead to 18-11. Stouffer tallied two kills during the scoring run and Krista Pecenka recorded a service ace to help stretch the Sea Gulls' advantage. Kills by both Davis and Venturelli over the final seven points helped seal the win and tie the match at one apiece.
In the third set both teams battled back and forth in the early stages looking to gain an edge as Salisbury held another slim lead, 8-6. A kill by Venturelli sparked a 12-2 scoring spree stretching the Sea Gulls' lead to 20-8. Venturelli tallied five kills during the scoring run while both Shannon Russell and Dubbs posted service aces. Stouffer tallied the final two points of the set for Salisbury to bring the Sea Gulls just one set win away from a sweep of the tournament.
It was not meant to be however as the Shorewomen rallied back to take the next two sets by scores of 25-20 and 18-16. During the final two sets Salisbury posted a hitting percentage of .205 and .083, committed 11 errors combined and tallied only 22 kills while Washington College hit .333 in the fourth set and combined for 27 kills.
Overall, Stouffer posted a match-high 28 kills and a team best hitting percentage of .383. Venturelli was second best on the team with 14 kills of her own while Dubbs posted a match-best and team-high five service aces. Russell led the Salisbury defense with a team-high 15 digs.
Salisbury returns to action on October 25 when they host CAC opponent Wesley College at 7 p.m.