WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Salem's senior standout Taylor Moulton notched the 1,000th kill of her career in the third set of the Spirits' 26-24, 25-13, 25-23 win over USA South Conference rival Methodist on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at Varsity Gym. Moulton, who also has 1,201 digs in her career as a Spirit, is the only player in program history with at least 1,000 digs and 1,000 kills.
Moulton was one of three Salem players, along with Brooklyn Snow and Valeria Rosa Lopez, to record a match-high nine kills in the victory. A total of six Salem players finished with at least three kills, including Kathryn O'Connell who tallied six, in the fourth three-set win of the season by the Spirits. Collectively, Salem (10-8, 6-3 USA South) finished with a .210 hitting percentage, as Hannah Delcamp handed out 35 assists in the contest.
Moulton made her presence felt defensively with match high's in digs (14) and assisted blocks (five). Both Rosa Lopez (12) and O'Connell (10) also topped double-digit digs. Meanwhile, the front row combination of Anna Schneider (four assisted blocks) and O'Connell, who finished with two solo blocks and four assisted blocks, stymied the Methodist (3-14, 2-7 USA South) offense, which finished with a .033 hitting percentage in the setback.
Facing a three-point deficit on four occasions in the first 27 points of the opening set, including a 15-12 margin, Salem capitalized on two unforced errors and a Moulton kill to make for a 15-all contest. The Monarchs would not relinquish the lead, despite slams by O'Connell and Madelyn Chappell, forcing Salem to burn its second timeout of the frame facing a 23-20 deficit. Chappell answered with a kill out of the breather, trimming the margin to two, before a pair of kills by Schneider coupled with a strike by Moulton eventually provided Salem with a 25-24 advantage. The Spirits used their defense to record the final point with an assisted block by Schneider and Moulton, securing the two-point victory.
With momentum shifting in Salem's favor, the Spirits opened up a 14-6 lead in the second behind three kills from Rosa Lopez and two each from the tandem of Snow and O'Connell. Delcamp kept the lead at eight with a service ace, but Methodist would put together a brief rally that sliced the margin to four, 17-13. Moulton answered with a kill and followed with seven points in serve, including a service ace, to secure the second set victory. Salem capped off the set with a .414 hitting percentage, finishing with 12 kills and no errors in the process.
The two teams battled to a seven-all deadlock in the early stages of the third before Salem put together a 9-2 run, highlighted by three kills from Moulton, and established a 16-9 lead. Chappell added a kill, following a pass from Delcamp, to keep Salem in front by seven, 20-13, but the Monarchs stormed back with a 7-1 run of their own to pull within a single point. Snow and Rosa Lopez penetrated the Methodist defense with a pair of kills to keep the Spirits in front, before a Monarch attack error gave Salem the decisive point.
Salem now takes to the road for a three-match in two-day stretch that will pit the Spirits against Bluefield State (Oct. 18), Mary Baldwin (Oct. 19) and William Peace (Oct. 19). For more information on Salem volleyball check out www.salemspirits.com.