ELON, N.C. – The No. 2 North seed Elon volleyball team (16-15, 9-7) is set to take on No. 3 South seed Furman (22-9, 10-6) in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. in Belk Arena in Davidson, N.C.
Last Time Out
Elon finished the last weekend of the regular season 2-0 with wins at UNCG and The Citadel. Victories over the Spartans and the Bulldogs helped the Phoenix secure the second seed in the North Division for the tournament. After starting the conference season 3-5, the maroon and gold won six of its last eight to finish with a 9-7 conference record.
Elon vs. Furman
The Phoenix won the lone regular-season meeting against the Paladins, 3-1 (17-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-20), in Alumni Gym on Oct. 20. Kris Harris recorded a career-high 17 kills off 28 attempts and only three errors to hit .500, while also tallying five blocks to help Elon out-block Furman, 8.5-5. Ana Nicksic finished the match with 49 assists to average 12.25 per set. The Paladins hold the all-time series against the Phoenix with a 12-2 record. However, Elon has won two of the last three years after snapping a six-match losing skid in 2010. The last time the two teams met in the tournament was 2004 when Furman won 3-0.
Against the Tournament Field
Elon went 4-6 over the season against the seven other teams in the conference tournament. The Phoenix defeated No. 3 North seed Chattanooga, No. 4 North seed UNCG, No. 3 South seed Furman and No. 4 South seed Davidson.
Phoenix in the SoCon Tournament
This marks Elon’s seventh appearance (third straight) in the SoCon Tournament since joining the league in 2003. Last season, the maroon and gold fell to the top seed in the South Division, College of Charleston, in the quarterfinal match. The Phoenix is 2-7 all-time in the tournament.
Elon volleyball earned four weekly honors and one monthly honor from the conference this season. Ali Deatsch was honored as the league’s defensive player of the week twice, while Kris Harris earned the offensive honor on Sept. 4. Celia Rose Eddy was named the defensive player of the week on Oct. 15 and was later named the defensive player of the month for October.
Head Coach Mary Tendler
Elon head coach Mary Tendler is in her 10th season with the Phoenix. She enters the tournament with a 169-157 career coaching mark. Tendler was honored by the league’s head coaches in 2010 as the SoCon Coach of the Year.
Freshmen Megan Gravley and Ana Nicksic were both named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Volleyball Team when the conference announced its 2012 all-conference and individual award winners on Nov. 14. Gravley and Nicksic were two of seven freshmen voted to the all-freshman team by the league’s head coaches. Gravley, an outside hitter, leads the team in kills (342) and kills per set (3.05), ranking ninth in the conference. Nicksic has recorded 1,052 assists in her first year, which ranks fifth on Elon’s DI individual season record’s list and eighth on the all-time individual season list. The setter is averaging 9.64 assists per set and ranks seventh in the conference.
Elon leads the conference in league play in blocks per set with 2.23. The Phoenix has recorded 25 solo blocks and 231 assisted blocks in its 63 conference-sets played. Kris Harris ranks third in conference matches with 1.03 blocks/set and Celia Rose Eddy ranks seventh with 0.95 blocks/set.
Prior to recording 34 digs at The Citadel on Nov. 10, Ali Deatsch spent four hours taking the physics portion of the GRE on the College of Charleston campus that morning. Deatsch, who is a physics major with minors in astronomy, applied mathematics and psychology, helped Elon to a sweep of the Bulldogs by averaging an astonishing 11.3 digs per set. The senior earned the league’s defensive player of the week honors on Nov. 12 after finishing the last two matches with 6.47 digs/set and four aces. After graduating from Elon in May, the Elmhurst, Ill., native plans to attend graduate school and pursue her doctorate in physics.
In the South
The Phoenix posted a 4-2 mark over the league’s South Division teams over the season. This is the best record against the six other teams in the conference since the 2009 season. Elon picked up wins at Davidson and The Citadel, while defeating Furman and Wofford in Alumni Gym.
Over the course of the season, Elon has had three players tally 12 double-doubles. Chanelle Smith has eight double-doubles so far this season, while Megan Gravley and Ana Nicksic have each recorded four. Seven of Smith’s double-digit kill and dig games have come in conference play.