ELON, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team recorded its first win as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association tonight, Oct. 31, in a thrilling 3-2 (30-28, 25-23, 25-21, 19-25, 15-11) victory over William & Mary in Alumni Gym. The win snaps a 11-match losing skid for the Phoenix and improves the team to 6-21 on the season (1-10 CAA), while the Tribe is now 6-20 (2-9 CAA).
“This win was definitely a team effort,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “We were a very aggressive, confident team who made plays a crucial times. We would have liked to get our first CAA win a lot earlier but it sure felt good to see the players’ hard work pay off tonight. We look forward to getting back on the court on Sunday to not only compete against James Madison but to celebrate the careers of our three seniors.”
Morgan Maner tied an Elon Division I program record with eight aces in the match to help the Phoenix to a season-high 14 service aces. Sydney Busa added to the serving strength of Elon with a career-high four aces, while also posting her fifth double-double of the season with 11 kills and 10 digs.
Megan Gravley recorded a team-high 16 kills off 36 attempts and only three errors to hit .361. Kris Harris posted 10 kills and added a match-high six blocks. Ally Karle finished the match with five blocks, while Maner tallied a match-high 19 digs to also help the defense.
In the first set, the Tribe took an early 14-9 lead, forcing an Elon timeout. The Phoenix answered with a 7-3 run with the help of an ace by Busa, kills by Gravley, Catherine Head and Busa and a block by Head and Busa to even the set at 17-all. W&M maintained the edge and claimed set point, 24-20. Two kills each by Karle and Gravley and an ace by Busa gave the Phoenix five straight points to take a 25-24 lead and set point. The score would be tied four more times before a kill by Kayla Agae and a Tribe error gave Elon the last two points and the win, 30-28.
The second set saw eight ties by the time the score reached eight-all before a kill by Harris and a block by Harris and Busa gave the Phoenix a two-point edge, 10-8. The set would continue to go back and forth and reach 19-all until an ace by Maner and kills by Busa and Head put Elon back up by two, 22-20. From there, the Tribe rallied and closed out the set on a 5-1 run to win, 25-23, and even the match at one set each.
With the third set tied at 12-all, W&M managed to score six straight to take an 18-12 lead. After a timeout, Elon answered with a 5-0 run off kills by Harris and Gravley and an ace by Busa to close the gap to one, 18-17. Trailing by two, 20-18, the Phoenix used the serve of Maner to score the next six points, including four aces by Maner, and claim set point, 24-20. A block by Head and Danielle Smith gave the maroon and gold the win, 25-21, to take a 2-1 match lead.
The Tribe bounced back in the fourth set with a 7-1 lead early. Kills by Gravley and Agae and back-to-back aces by Chanelle Smith pulled the Phoenix within three, 10-7. An ace and a kill by Busa helped cut the deficit to, 15-14, but that was the closest Elon would come as W&M finished the set with a 25-19 victory to send the match to a fifth and final set.
A kill by Harris and two blocks by both Harris and Karle helped Elon to a 5-0 lead to start the fifth set. The Tribe pulled within two, 9-7, before Elon scored three straight off two kills by Agae and one by Ana Nicksic to regain a five-point advantage, 12-7. A kill by Gravley gave the Phoenix a 15-11 win in the set and the 3-2 final.
Elon plays its final home match on Sunday, Nov. 2, when it hosts James Madison at 2 p.m. in Alumni Gym. The match will also mark senior day for the three seniors on the team – Harris, C. Smith and D. Smith.