DURHAM, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team was not able to pull out a win against Liberty in its final match of the Hilton RTP/NCCU Tournament today, August 25. The Phoenix (0-3) fell in three sets (20-25, 23-25, 16-25) to the Flames (2-1).
“Even though we are unhappy with the result, I feel like we played our best match of the weekend today,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “Liberty is a very strong team and our defense did much better today than yesterday. Also, our offense was consistent throughout the match. Today was encouraging as we continue with non-conference play.”
Sophomore Kris Harris led the maroon and gold on offense with 10 kills off 14 attempts and only one error to hit .643. Freshman Ana Nicksic led all players with 28 assists, while sophomore Chanelle Smith and freshman Megan Gravley each earned eight kills.
In the first set, Elon fell behind early but used a kill by Danielle Smith and a block by Harris and Gravley to tie the score at five-all. After a kill by Celia Rose Eddy pulled the Phoenix back within one, 9-8, the Flames went on a five-point run to take a six-point advantage, 14-8. Still trailing by six, 16-10, the maroon and gold used a block and a kill by Harris to cut the deficit to four and force a Liberty timeout. After a three-point run by the Flames made it 22-15, Elon used its second timeout and then recorded three straight kills by C. Smith, D. Smith and Gravley to cut the Flame’s lead to three, 22-19. However, Liberty was able to hold on for the first-set win, 25-20.
The Flames took an early 5-1 lead in the second set but the maroon and gold battled back and a kill by Harris tied the set at nine-all. Down by one, 11-10, the Phoenix scored four straight with the help of kills by C. and D. Smith and Ana Nicksic to take its first lead, 14-11. With the set tied at 17, the Flames went on a 6-1 run for a 23-18 lead, but a kill by Harris and a block by Eddy and Nicksic helped Elon pull within two, 23-21. Liberty was able to hold on to win the close set, 25-23.
After Liberty opened the third set with a 12-7 lead, the Phoenix then pulled within three, 12-9. The Flames began to pull away with an eight-point lead, 19-11, but a 3-1 run off two kills by Gravley and one by Harris put the maroon and gold back within six, 20-14. Elon was not able to complete the comeback as Liberty won the final set, 25-16, and the match, 3-0.
The Phoenix will play its first home match of the 2012 season against North Carolina A&T on Wednesday, August 29, at 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym.