ASTON, Pa. – The Salisbury University volleyball traveled to Pennsylvania and Neumann University to take part in the Knights Invitational. The Sea Gulls finished with a .500 record on day one of the tournament falling in five to the Catholic University of America and sweeping host Neumann University.
Nicole Venturelli finished the day as the Sea Gulls leader in kills with a combined 41 including 30 in the loss to the Cardinals while positing hitting percentages of .261 and .500 in each match respectively.
Catholic 3, Salisbury 2
For the second time in less than a week Salisbury squared off against Catholic (9-2). Both the Sea Gulls and Cardinals met six days ago in our nation's capital at the Guetle Invitational and beat the host school in five sets. This time around though it was the Cardinals that came out on top edging out Salisbury 3-2 behind a 16-14 victory in the decisive fifth set.
The Gulls jumped out to an early 1-0 lead defeating Catholic 25-18 in the first set. However, the Cardinals went on to claim the next two sets by scores of 25-22 and 25-20.
Facing the 2-1 deficit Sea Gulls battled back to claim the fourth set a thrilling 26-24 victory. With the set leveled at 16-16 Amanda Chew rallied off four straight kills for Salisbury to help give the Gulls a 20-18 lead.
After Catholic rallied back to take a 23-22 lead, Carley Cleland and Venturelli combined to record the final three kills in the set to give Salisbury the win and force the decisive fifth set.
Salisbury 3, Neumann 0
The Gulls (8-4) bounced back in their second match of the evening sweeping host Neumann (6-6). Salisbury took control of the match winning a thrilling opening set 25-23 behind five kills from Venturelli, who tallied a team-high 11 for the match.
The Knights managed to jump out to a 10-5 lead early in the set and were able to push their advantage to seven at 13-6 midway through. However, a 7-4 run by the maroon and gold led by kills from Venturelli, Gianna Savarese, and Chew helped tie the set at 20 all. Venturelli tallied four kills during the run including the set tying kill while Savarese and Chew combined for three total.
However, Neumann managed to reclaim the lead and was two points, 23-21, away from winning the set. The Gulls managed to run off four straight points highlighted by a kill from Cleland and the set winning service ace from freshman Darian DiMatteo.
The Sea Gulls went on to win the next two sets by scores of 25-11 and 25-20 tallying 11 kills in the second set while totaling 15 in the third set. The defense was equally as impressive holding the Knights to a combined 20 kills and hitting percentages of -.094 and .259 in the final two sets.
Chew completed her day with 31 kills including a new career-high 21 against Catholic surpassing her previous career-best 20, which she set against Catholic last weekend. Meanwhile Cleland finished third on the team with 18 kills for the afternoon.
Hailey Dougherty led the defensive effort with 43 digs while Savarese tallied nine total blocks for the afternoon to lead the team.
Salisbury returns to action on Saturday, September 15 when it takes on Cabrini University and Moravian College. Those matches are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.