ELON, N.C. – After Wake Forest rallied from a 2-0 deficit, Elon University volleyball handed the previously undefeated Demon Deacons their first loss of the season with a 15-13 decision in set five Sunday afternoon, Sept. 15 at Schar Center.
On her team’s effort and resiliency, head coach Mary Tendler said, “Really proud of our players for how strong they started the match and for fighting back after losing the third and fourth sets. It is nice to see continued improvement as we get closer to CAA play.”
The Phoenix improves to 4-5 on the year with the 3-2 upset. The Deacs fall to 7-1 with the loss.
Elon 3, Wake Forest 2 | 25-17, 25-18, 21-25, 19-25, 15-13
Elon built an early 2-0 match lead with a 25-17 tally in set one, followed by a 25-18 score in set two. With a narrow 14-13 advantage in the opening set, a Leah Daniel kill set off a 4-0 run by the maroon and gold. Wake Forest closed the gap with a 3-0 response, but three consecutive kills from Kellyn Trowse highlighted a 7-1 swing that made it 1-0 in favor of the Phoenix. Elon continued its strong start in set two, scoring the first three points and building an early 6-2 edge. The home team later benefited from five straight miscues by the Deacs to go ahead 15-5. Wake was never able to recover, and kills by Daniel and Elizabeth Coil made it 2-0.
Behind 18-14 in set three, the Phoenix stormed back with sux unanswered points, but Wake earned the next five and cut Elon’s overall lead in half with a 25-21 result. After some back-and-forth action in set four, the Deacs finally pulled away with a 9-1 spurt. The 25-19 tally knotted the match at two sets apiece.
Nori Thomas scored the first two points in set five, but the guests wrestled away control with the next four. After a tie at 6-6, a pair of Daniel kills helped the Phoenix jump ahead 9-6. Wake Forest refused to go down, though, pulling ahead 13-12. Elon then regrouped and came out of a timeout determined. Daniel tied the set for the eighth time, the Deacs committed an attack error, and Daniel scored the match point for the 3-2 final.
Daniel finished with a team-high 20 kills (.265) and added an ace, five digs, and three blocks. Thomas followed with 17 kills (.382) to go along with two digs and three blocks, while Trowse totaled 12 kills (.146) with an ace and 14 digs. Kodi Garcia tallied 31 assists with three aces and four digs, and Haylie Clark had 26 assists with eight digs. Jordan Gower recorded a new season high with 17 digs, Alex VanWestrienen tied her season high with 10, and Coil made four blocks.
-With the win, Elon trims Wake’s lead in the all-time series to 16-11.
-It was the first time in the series that a match went to five sets.
-The win marks the first as a Division I program over the Deacs.
-The victory snaps Wake’s eight-match win streak in the series.
-Sunday’s win is the first against a Power 5 program since a 3-1 win at North Carolina State on Sept. 4, 2004 in the final match of the Summit Hospitality Wolfpack Classic.
-This was the fifth time this season a match has gone to five sets.
-With 2,282 career assists, Garcia is now 38 shy of ninth place on Elon’s career leaders list, currently held by Emily Regan (2006-09) with 2,319.
-The match featured 22 ties and 10 lead changes.
-Elon outhit its opponent .262-.239 and held the advantage in kills (65-62), points (78.0-69.0), service aces (6-2), blocks (7-5), assists (62-55), and digs (60-58).
Elon concludes its four-match home stand this Tuesday, Sept. 17 with a 7 p.m. match against Winthrop.