By ZACH GILLELAND
The Salisbury University volleyball team dropped its third Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) match of the season, falling in five sets to York (Pa.) on Friday.
Hosting its annual Dig Pink Game, donations made during the game help support breast cancer awareness.
“We have had families affected by [breast cancer] and a lot of people know people that have been affected by it,” SU Head Coach Justin Turco said. “It is definitely positive to exceed our goal in fundraising.”
Following a three-game winning streak, the Sea Gulls (15-8, 4-3 CAC) looked to gain control of third place in the CAC. Facing a Spartan team with a 3-2 conference record, Friday’s matchup had big playoff ramifications.
Although tying the game at two sets apiece after being down 2-0, Salisbury dropped the decisive fifth set.
“We struggled a little bit making adjustments. We knew what we had to do but the execution was not there,” Turco said. “[York] did a good job spreading the ball, hitters were smart, and they moved the ball around and kept the ball in too. They earned that win.”
A slow start for the maroon and gold, the team fell to an early 9-3 deficit. York continued to take advantage of SU mistakes, taking a commanding 21-13 lead.
The Sea Gulls rallied to take the next five points, cutting the deficit to three. But after back-to-back kills from Spartan outside hitters Tyler Williams and Brooke Krebs, York pulled away to take a 25-20 first set win.
The Spartans carried the momentum into the second set, taking a late 23-18 lead. Salisbury took seven of the next eight points to tie the set at 24 and force extra points. Like the first set, York pulled away with two consecutive points to win the second set and take a 2-0 lead.
“They just got to compete better off the bat,” Turco said. “We have seen a little pattern of just a few slow starts so just got to come out of the gate swinging earlier.”
Facing the possibility of a straight sweep, Salisbury fought back in the third set. After falling to a 10-6 deficit, three consecutive kills by junior outside hitter Nicole Venturelli sparked nine-straight points for the Sea Gulls.
SU pulled away to take a 25-18 third set victory.
The maroon and gold continued to roll, racing out to a 14-5 lead and leading by as many as 11 in the fourth set. A late York rally made it a two-point game, but a kill by Venturelli propelled Salisbury to a 25-22 win to tie the game at two sets apiece.
A seesaw battle throughout, the Spartans raced out to a 10-2 lead in the fifth and final set. The Sea Gulls made it close, but a kill from York outside hitter Hannah Siaurusaitis ended the Salisbury rally and the match.
The win puts York tied for third in the CAC standings.
“It was good to make that comeback and make a run at it,” Turco said. “With teams like York we cannot wait until the fifth set to try to win the match.”
Venturelli led the Sea Gulls with 16 kills. Junior middle hitter Sydney Davis added 12 kills and freshman outside hitter Lacey Swartout added 10.
Sophomore setter Rachel Dubbs collected her 1,000th career assist, providing 23 assists in the matchup.
Salisbury stays home for a doubleheader on Saturday, facing Penn State-Harrisburg at noon and Arcadia at 4 p.m.