DURHAM, N.C. – Offensive woes plagued the Elon volleyball team today, Sept. 7, as the maroon and gold fell to Duke (6-1) in its first match of the Duke Classic by a final of 3-0 (14-25, 21-25, 23-25) in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“We played high level, consistent volleyball tonight,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “Our offense and defense kept getting better as the match went along, which is a good sign. Duke presented a very big block, but I thought our hitters stayed aggressive and we were able to get some good swings.”
Elon was led by freshman Megan Gravley, who recorded nine kills and 11 digs, while sophomore Kris Harris finished with seven kills. On defense, senior Ali Deatsch tallied 12 digs and senior Celia Rose Eddy recorded four blocks.
After the Blue Devils opened the first set with a 5-1 lead, the Phoenix went on to score three of the next four points off kills by Allison Johnson, Gravley and Catherine Head to close the gap to two, 6-4. With Duke up by six, back-to-back kills by Gravley made the score 10-6 in favor of the Blue Devils. A kill by Harris pulled the maroon and gold back within four, 12-8, but Duke was able to maintain the upper hand and won the set by a final of 25-14.
Elon took a 3-1 lead early in the second set before the Blue Devils tied it at four-all. A kill by Ana Nicksic gave the Phoenix a three-point advantage, 9-6, and then a kill by Gravley kept the lead at three for the maroon and gold, 10-7. After Duke tied the score at 12, the set continued to go back-and-forth, but a block by Gravley and Eddy and a kill by Harris kept the Phoenix with the upper hand, 14-13. The Blue Devils would later use four straight to serve set point with the score at, 24-19, but the Phoenix would not go away quietly, scoring the next two off kills by Gravley and Harris to cut the deficit to three, 24-21. However, Duke managed to win the final point and take the set, 25-21.
The Phoenix claimed a 6-2 lead to start the third set off three kills by Harris, one by Chanelle Smith and a block by Head and Nicksic. After a Duke error gave the maroon and gold a five-point advantage, 8-3, the Blue Devils were forced to call its first timeout of the set. Kills by Gravley and Head helped Elon maintain the lead of five before Duke tied the set at 15-all and took an 18-15 advantage. The Phoenix pulled back within one, 18-17, off a block by Gravley and Eddy and then tied it at 19 with a kill by Gravley. Elon kept it close, but Duke was able to win six of the final 10 points to win the set, 25-23, and take the 3-0 match win.
Elon will continue play in the Duke Classic tomorrow, Sept. 8, with matches against Northeastern and East Carolina at noon and 5 p.m., respectively.