Salisbury downs St. Mary's 3-1 behind Venturelli's 16 kills

Salisbury downs St. Mary's 3-1 behind Venturelli's 16 kills

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University volleyball team battled to a hard fought 3-1 victory over the visiting Seahawks of St. Mary's College of Maryland on Wednesday night.

Three different Salisbury (13-7, 2-2 CAC) players tallied double-digit kills, led by Nicole Venturelli's team and match-best 16. She also posted a team-best .424 hitting percentage to aid in the victory. Both Carley Cleland and Amanda Chew followed Venturelli's lead by tallying double-digit kills, hitting 11 and 10, respectively, to help push the Gulls' conference record back to .500.

St. Mary's (12-15, 0-5 CAC) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after claiming an opening set 25-18 victory. However, Salisbury went on to claim the next three sets using a solid offensive attack and great defense.

The Sea Gulls leveled the match at 1-1 earning a 25-20 victory in set two, tallying 12 kills to the Seahawks' nine. Defensively, Salisbury forced 11 attacking errors and used an 18-10 run to open the set en route to the five-point victory. Venturelli posted a team-best five kills in the set to aid in the win, while three different players overall recorded kills, including three from Chew.

Salisbury continued to roll in the third set, using a match-high 17 kills and a hitting percentage of .405 to jump out to a 2-1 advantage. The Sea Gulls opened the set with a 9-2 scoring run sparked by kills from Cleland, Chew, and Gianna Savarese. Savarese, who finished the night with eight kills, tallied two in the opening five points of set three while also chipping in a block to help in the win.

In the decisive fourth set Salisbury raced out to an 11-0 lead and never looked back, cruising to a 25-19 win. Offensively, the maroon and gold hammered home 13 kills and posted a hitting percentage of .222 while limiting St. Mary's to just 12 and a mark of .100. Venturelli posted a team-best five kills in the set to round out her performance, while four other members of the maroon and gold recorded a kill.

Overall, Salisbury tallied 54 kills to St. Mary's' 48 while also only committing 24 unforced errors to the Seahawks' 35, which included 10 receiving errors. As a team the Gulls recorded 10 service aces, with Hailey Dougherty and Kiana Bopp combing for seven, hitting four and three respectively. Bopp also tied Rachel Dubbs for a team-best 24 assists on the evening.

Defensively, four different players posted double-digit digs as Dougherty led the way with 22, while the team combined for 23 total blocks with Savarese denying a team-best eight.

Salisbury returns to action on Saturday, October 20 when it travels to Christopher Newport University for a 2 p.m. match.    

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