Senior student-athletes reflect on Salisbury careers

Senior libero Hailey Dougherty has been a key player and leader for Salisbury University volleyball over the past four years. Dougherty is one of three seniors that suited up for the team this season.


The Nazareth, Pennsylvania native was named the 2019 Capital Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year after leading the conference with 583 total digs and 5.35 digs per set. Dougherty is the eighth Sea Gull to win a CAC Player of the Year award and the first since 2016.


Dougherty was also named to the All-CAC First Team this season and All-CAC Second Team in 2018. She has appeared in 113 matches and 416 sets for the Sea Gulls throughout her career.


Entering the CAC semifinal matchup on Thursday at the University of Mary Washington, Dougherty sat fourth all-time in school history with 1,851 digs.


Salisbury volleyball has compiled a 73-40 record over Dougherty’s four years on the team.


Since Dougherty’s freshman season in 2016, the team has nabbed at least one victory over every current CAC member, as well as Wesley College, Marymount University, Penn State Harrisburg and Frostburg State University, which were all members in 2016.


After being recruited by head coach Justin Turco in high school, Dougherty fell in love with the campus during her visit to Salisbury. Dougherty said the school presented a complete package for her.


“I know I wanted to come down in the Maryland/Virginia area, so when I came down here for a visit, I fell in love with the campus,” Dougherty said. “[I knew] I wanted to [study] business, and so the Perdue Business School was obviously amazing.”


Some of Dougherty’s favorite memories on the team include defeating Christopher Newport University her freshman year, playing Mary Washington in the CAC Semifinals last year and defeating Susquehanna University in the Sea Gull Classic early in the season.


When reflecting back on her four years in the maroon and gold, Dougherty says a life lesson that she learned on the court was how to become a leader.


“I learned a lot of leadership. Coach Turco and the different teams and different girls I’ve been able to work with has taught me a lot about myself,” Dougherty said. “I had to start as a leader my sophomore year, so I’ve really been able to grow within myself and grow as a leader on and off the court and make some friendships I know will last for a while.”


Alex Eiben winds up to throw the ball into play. (Brendan Link image)

Senior defender Alex Eiben, a Jefferson, Maryland native, has played a key role for Salisbury’s men’s soccer team since his sophomore season.


After only a single appearance his freshman year, Eiben started in the rest of his 57 games played in the maroon and gold.


As a junior, Eiben was named to the All-CAC Second Team and United Soccer Coaches All-South Atlantic Region Third Team.


The team has a 28-22-7 record over the last three seasons, holding opponents to just under one goal per game and recording 15 shutouts.


Eiben says that being a Sea Gull has led to him being viewed as a role model, especially to younger athletes in the area.


“Being a Sea Gull in the community is pretty cool, being looked up to from high school kids,” Eiben said.


With the challenges of being a student athlete, Eiben holds himself to high standards on the field and in the classroom.


Eiben chose to come to Salisbury after graduating from Brunswick High School because of the affordability, the size of the school and his brother, Nathaniel Eiben, being a senior on the soccer team. Alex, like his brother, is a business major at Salisbury.


Eiben said playing with his brother played a large role in his decision to don the maroon and gold.


“[My brother] was a senior when I was a freshman, so I figured that would be cool to play one season with him ... his last season,” Eiben said. “So, coming down, watching some of his games through his four years and seeing how the team worked and operated was also a big interest for me.”


Eiben’s favorite memory as a Sea Gull was scoring his first career goal, a game-winner in double overtime off a Mathew Zimmerman assist to defeat the Catholic University of America in his sophomore season.


Eiben said getting redemption for a mistake he had made early in that contest made the goal a little sweeter.


“Earlier in the game, I made a mistake, and [the Cardinals] ended up scoring a goal, tying up the game,” Eiben said. “[Zimmerman] sent a cross in on a corner kick, and I was right there, the ball was coming right toward my face, and I was right in front of the goal, couldn’t have missed, easy tap in, game winner, it was just a great feeling.”


Reflecting back on his career at Salisbury, Eiben says that he has really learned to be there for his teammates and help and support them whenever they need it.


“We have three core values, which is family, integrity and grit, and I think the one that stands out to me the most is family, and also going off of that is being a great teammate and supporting your teammates not only on the field, but off the field and in the classroom,” Eiben said. “Being on this team, we’re always there for each other. If we need help or we are struggling academically or outside of school or on the field, we always try to pick each other up.”



By BRANDON STARK

Staff writer

Featured photo: Sports Information image.

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