ELON, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team kicked off its annual Elon Phoenix Classic today, August 31, with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-13) win over Gardner-Webb. The Phoenix improves to 2-3 with the victory, while the Runnin’ Bulldogs drop to 0-5.
“I think Ana (Nicksic) did a nice job of getting the ball to our middle hitters tonight,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “Celia (Eddy) and Kris (Harris) dominated at the net, which helped our offense. Our serve/receive started out a little slow but we were able to find our rhythm and give Ana a great pass every time.”
Sophomore Kris Harris led all players with 12 kills, while also recording one ace and two blocks. Senior Celia Rose Eddy hit an impressive .533 after eight kills of 15 attempts and no errors. Freshman Ana Nicksic finished the match with 30 assists and three blocks. On defense, senior Ali Deatsch tallied 14 digs, while junior Maggie Reichard recorded eight.
With the first set tied at three, the Phoenix scored three straight with the help of a kill by Harris to take a 6-3 advantage. The Runnin’ Bulldogs would then chip away at Elon’s lead and tie the set again at 14-all. The set remained tied, 19-all, until the maroon and gold went on a 4-0 run off the serve of Reichard to go up 23-19. The Phoenix would go on to win the set, 25-21, with a final kill by Chanelle Smith.
The second set was a back-and-forth affair as the score remained tied every other point until Elon took a three-point lead, 15-12, off a kill by Nicksic. Gardner-Webb responded with the next three points to tie the set at 15-all. With the set tied at 17, C. Smith recorded a kill and an ace to put the Phoenix up two, 19-17. Up by three, 23-20, the Phoenix scored the final two points, including a kill by Megan Gravley, to win the set, 25-20, and take a 2-0 match lead.
With a one-point lead in the third set, 6-5, Elon scored five straight with the help of a block by Eddy and Nicksic, a kill by Eddy and an ace by Harris to go up by six, 11-5. The Phoenix increased its advantage to eight, 18-10, off a kill by Harris and a block by Harris and Nicksic. After a Runnin’ Bulldog timeout, Elon used some GWU mistakes and an ace by Allison Johnson to lead by 10, 21-11. The maroon and gold won the set by a final of 25-13 to earn its second straight match sweep.
Elon will play its remaining two games of the Elon Phoenix Classic tomorrow, Sept. 1. The Phoenix takes on North Carolina Central at 12:30 p.m. and Alabama at 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym.