NEW PALTZ, N.Y. – The No. 21 Salisbury University volleyball team earned its third regular-season tournament championship on Saturday at the Hawks Invitational at State University of New York at New Paltz with wins over Ithaca College, 3-0, and SUNY New Paltz, 3-1.
Salisbury 3, Ithaca 0
Salisbury started the second day of the Hawks Invitational with its third 3-0 sweep of the tournament, defeating Ithaca 25-20, 25-17, 25-20.
Ithaca kept the match close in the early moments, trailing by one, 8-7, but kills by junior Kirby Buttry and Poston started a 12-5 run for the Sea Gulls. Poston, who led the Gulls with 10 kills in the match, registered two during the run.
Salisbury held a 20-12 lead, but an 8-2 run by the Bombers cut the SU lead to two points, before a kill by junior Nikki Binetti and two Ithaca attack errors sealed the win for the Sea Gulls.
Ithaca carried its late momentum from the first set into the beginning of the second, jumping out to a 10-6 lead.
Trailing 11-8, Salisbury ripped off 10-consecutive points, including two kills by Stouffer and one each from Binetti and senior Jess Tallant to take an 18-11 lead.
The Sea Gulls held that lead to eventually take the second game, with Poston adding two more kills for the final two points.
The third set, like the first two, remained close in the early moments, with the Sea Gulls and the Bombers tied, 9-9, before Salisbury would pull away.
Binetti tallied two-straight kills to spark an 11-3 run, giving SU a 20-12 lead; junior Mattie Smith registered two kills in the run, as well.
Ithaca would cut the Gulls' lead to four, but Salisbury held strong to take the final set and the match.
Salisbury 3, New Paltz 1
The Sea Gulls grabbed the tournament championship after downing the Hawks, 23-25, 25-19, 28-26, 25-16.
Salisbury dropped its only set of the weekend in the first set of the match. The team led early in the game, but New Paltz tied the score, 15-15 and was able to take control from there.
Two kills by Stouffer got the Gulls within one, 24-23, but a Salisbury attack error gave New Paltz the set.
SU fell behind, 4-3, early in the second set, but kills by Buttry, Stouffer and senior Tam Weems, along with three Hawk attack errors gave the Sea Gulls an 8-4 lead.
New Paltz would come back to grab the lead again, which traded hands two more times during the set, but with the game tied, 16-16, Salisbury rode a 9-3 run to even the match, 1-1.
The third set contained much of the same back-and-forth battling, as the teams traded leads, with the largest lead growing to only three points.
The Hawks took a 25-24 lead, needing only one point to go up a set, but a kills from Stouffer and sophomore Kacey Franz and two New Paltz attack errors help Salisbury grab an important third set.
Despite falling into a five-point deficit, 11-6, the Sea Gulls grabbed the momentum in the final game for a 13-3 run to swing the score in their favor, 19-14.
Poston and Weems both tallied two kills in the run, with Poston's first sparking the comeback.
Salisbury held the lead for the rest of the game to take the match.
Stouffer led the team with 15 kills, while Weems (10) and Smith (11) reached double-digits in the category, as well.
Salisbury will be in action again on Friday, as it travels to Elizabethtown College for the Blue Jay Classic and open the two-day tournament against Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.