ELON, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team won its third straight match against North Carolina Central earlier today, Sept. 1, before falling to Alabama in the final match of the Elon Phoenix Classic. The Phoenix (3-4) swept the Eagles (1-6) 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-15) and fell to the Crimson Tide (6-1) by a final of 3-0 (15-25, 18-25, 17-25).
Up by two in the first set against NCCU, 6-6, the Phoenix put together a seven-point run with kills by Chanelle Smith and Megan Gravley and a block by Celia Rose Eddy and C. Smith to increase its advantage to nine, 13-4. A kill by Eddy and an ace by Ana Nicksic pushed the Phoenix advantage to 10, 15-5, forcing the Eagles to call its second timeout of the set. The maroon and gold continued to roll and won the set by a final of 25-15.
The second set remained close with the Phoenix and Eagles trading points every other score until Elon pulled ahead by two, 15-13, off a block by Eddy and Danielle Smith. Another ace by Nicksic, her second of the match, increased the maroon and gold’s lead to four, 22-18. A kill by Gravley sealed the four-point second-set win, 25-21, for the Phoenix.
With the third set tied at three-all, Elon went on a 4-0 run with the help of a kill by Harris and a block by Nicksic and Harris to go up 7-3. Leading by one, 10-9, a block by Eddy and D. Smith capped three straight points for the Phoenix to take a 13-9 advantage and cause an NCCU timeout. The Eagles scored the first point out of the timeout to cut the deficit to three, 13-10, but Elon scored the next four off kills by Eddy, Gravley and D. Smith to increase its lead to seven, 17-10. With the score in favor of the Phoenix, 20-13, kills by Harris and Allison Johnson helped the maroon and gold finish on a 5-2 run and win the third set, 25-15, to earn the match sweep.
Harris continued to look strong at the net, hitting .667 with 11 kills off 15 attempts and only one error. Johnson recorded eight kills, while Gravley finished with seven. Eddy and D. Smith both earned five kills, helping Elon to hit .333 overall.
On defense, senior Ali Deatsch tallied 10 digs and Eddy finished with three blocks as the Phoenix held the Eagles to a .071 attack percentage.
Alabama took the early 4-2 lead over Elon in the first set before Johnson tied the score at four-all with an ace and a kill. Down by two, the maroon and gold went on a 6-2 run off kills by D. Smith, Harris and Gravley to take a two-point advantage, 10-8. The Crimson Tide would then go on a 17-5 run to win the set, 25-15.
With the second set tied at seven-all, the Phoenix scored four of the next five points off kills from Gravley and Catherine Head to take the lead by three, 11-8. After Alabama came back to tie the score at 12, Elon used a 4-1 run with another kill by Head and one by Eddy and Harris to take back its three-point advantage, 16-13. However, the Crimson Tide managed to score nine straight, followed by three of the last five points to win the set, 25-18.
The Phoenix kept the third set close and did not trail Alabama by more than three, pulling within two, 10-8, off a kill by C. Smith. Down by five, 14-9, the maroon and gold cut the deficit to one, 15-14, after a 5-1 run off back-to-back kills by Harris. The Crimson Tide was then able to pull away and win the set, 25-17, and the match, 3-0.
Harris led Elon with six kills, while Gravley and Eddy both recorded five. Nicksic tallied 26 assists in the match and Deatsch finished with 10 digs on defense.
Harris and Eddy were both named the Elon Phoenix Classic All-Tournament Team at the end of the tournament.
Elon travels next to Radford, Va., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, to face Radford in a 7 p.m. match.