SALISBURY, Md. – Salisbury University women's volleyball turned in a tough, hard fought, gritty, and exciting match on Thursday evening but were unable to hold off the No. 24 Captains of Christopher Newport University in the Capital Athletic Conference semifinals falling, 3-2. Katie Stouffer turned in one of her top performances of the year totaling 22 kills and broke the all-time career kills record and now sits atop the record books with 1,747.
Christopher Newport (25-8) came out ready to play, taking the first set by the final score of 25-15. The Captains totaled 16 kills in the set and posted a hitting percentage of .455 while Salisbury (20-8) tallied only nine kills as a team and recorded six errors.
In the second set however, the Sea Gulls responded with a convincing 25-20 victory to even the match at one apiece. Trailing 12-11 Salisbury used an 11-4 run sparked by a Sydney Davis kill to jump out to a 22-16 advantage. Three different Sea Gull players tallied kills during the run including two from both Stouffer and Nicole Venturelli. Stouffer posted seven kills overall in the set including the record breaker.
Leading 13-12 Rachel Dubbs set a ball on the left side of the net and Stouffer hammered it home to tie the all-time record and stretch the lead to 14-12. Then on the very next possession Dubbs once again set a perfect ball to the left side of the net and once again Stouffer rose above everyone to hammer a ball down the line to not only stretch the lead to 15-12 but give herself the all-time kills record in Salisbury University Volleyball history.
After a dominating third set by the Captains that saw them cruise to a 25-11 victory the Sea Gulls sat one loss away from defeat. Early in the fourth set both teams found themselves deadlocked at 6-6 after a back and forth battle. Venturelli changed all that very quickly when she tallied a kill to spark a 9-3 run to help Salisbury jump out to a 15-9 lead. Four different players recorded kills during the scoring including Jordan Lawson and Shannon Russell. Christopher Newport was unfazed however, rallying all the way back to take a 24-22 lead.
Just when it looked like the Captains were going to capture the set and victory the Sea Gulls came roaring back to tie the match at 24-24 and forced a win-by-two scenario. After initially trading points back and forth, an attack error on Christopher Newport followed up by a kill from Venturelli gave Salisbury a 28-26 win and sent the match into a fifth and decisive set.
It was not meant to be however, as the Captains rallied back from an 11-9 deficit to capture the set 15-12 and claim the overall match 3-2. Christopher Newport tallied 10 kills during the set while the Sea Gulls managed only six.
Overall, Stouffer posted a match-high 22 kills and was the only Sea Gull to tally double-digit kills. Christopher Newport totaled a hitting percentage of .260 while Salisbury posted a percentage of .112. Russell led the defensive effort with a team-best 16 digs while Lawson and Gianna Savarese posted five blocks each combining for 10 of the Sea Gulls' 14.
With the CAC tournament coming to an end, Salisbury went out giving everything it had in front of its home fans and watching their leader add one more accolade to her already decorated career.