DURHAM, N.C. – Using the energy of a loud Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Elon volleyball team rebounded from a loss earlier in the day to defeat East Carolina in its final game of the Duke Classic today, Sept. 8. The Phoenix (5-6) fell to Northeastern (8-2), 3-0 (16-25, 17-25, 25-27), before claiming a 3-1 (25-16, 18-25, 25-21, 25-17) victory over the Pirates (1-8).
“After slow starts in our first two matches of the tournament, it was nice to get off to a quick start against ECU,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “That momentum will be key as we move towards Southern Conference play. Everybody came in and played well in their role tonight, even if it was a short period of time, and that shows that we have a lot of quality players that can get the job done.”
After Northeastern jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first set, a block by Celia Rose Eddy and a kill by Megan Gravley helped the Phoenix pull within one, 5-4. Tendler was forced to call the Elon’s first timeout with the team down by four, 9-5, but a kill by Gravley cut the deficit down to three, 9-6. With the Huskies serving set point, 24-14, the Phoenix was able to score two straight to keep the set alive with a block by Gravley and Ana Nicksic and an ace by Nicksic, but Northeastern would go on to win, 25-16.
Down by four in the second, 8-4, Elon scored two straight with the help of a kill by Eddy to get within two of the Huskies. An ace by Nicksic pulled the Phoenix within one, 9-8, while a solo block by Eddy and a kill by Chanelle Smith helped the maroon and gold stay within striking distance of the Huskies. After a 6-2 run by Northeastern, Elon closed the gap to four, 19-15, off a kill and ace by Catherine Head and a kill by Eddy. The Huskies would then pull away and take a 2-0 match lead after a 25-17 second-set win.
Two kills by Gravley gave the Phoenix an early 3-1 lead before the Huskies came back to take a slight advantage in the third set. Elon tied the set at six with the help of kills by Eddy and Carly Ledbetter. Down by two, 10-8, another kill by Ledbetter and a block by Nicksic and Kris Harris tied the score at 10-all. With the set still tied, 13-all, the maroon and gold jumped out to a two-point lead off a kill by Eddy, 15-13. The set remained close with the Huskies and Phoenix trading off points and neither team taking more than a one-point advantage. Northeastern reached set point first, 24-23, but Elon scored two straight off strong blocks by Danielle Smith and Eddy and then by Harris and D. Smith to take set point, 25-24. However, the Huskies won the final three points to claim the set, 27-25, and the match.
Eddy and Gravley led the maroon and gold on offense with nine kills each. The Phoenix dominated the Huskies at the net on defense, out blocking Northeastern 8-2. Eddy finished the match with five blocks, two solo, while Harris and D. Smith each tallied three.
With a mostly pro-Elon crowd in Cameron Indoor, Elon stormed out to a 6-1 lead against ECU in the first set off kills by Harris, Gravley and Eddy, forcing an early Pirate timeout. East Carolina scored out of the timeout but the Phoenix then put together a 6-0 run with the help of blocks by Eddy and C. Smith and kills by D. Smith and C. Smith to go up by 10, 12-2. After the Pirates pulled within eight, 14-6, the maroon and gold scored four straight to take a 12-point advantage, 18-6. With Elon leading 23-11, ECU managed a five-point run to cut its deficit to seven, 23-16. The Phoenix would close the set with a kill by D. Smith and a block by Harris and C. Smith to win 25-16. Elon held ECU to a -.038 hitting percentage in the first set, while the Phoenix hit .440.
The Phoenix continued its momentum into the second set and jumped out to a 5-1 lead off kills by Harris and Gravley and an ace by Alli Nogi. After the Pirates came back to tie the set and take a one-point lead, 6-5, the maroon and gold scored three straight off kills by Harris and Eddy and a block by Gravley and Eddy to take a two-point lead, 8-6. ECU regained the lead by one, 13-12, but a 4-1 run by the Phoenix with the help of three kills by C. Smith put Elon up again by two, 16-14. The Pirates would close out the set on an 11-2 run and even the match at one set each with a 25-18 win.
Kills by Gravley and Eddy and an ace by Harris helped Elon score the first four points of the third set as the Phoenix opened to an 8-3 lead. After an ace by Ali Deatsch put the maroon and gold up seven, 10-3, the Pirates went on a 4-0 run to pull within three. After an Elon timeout, the maroon and gold scored five of the next seven points to move its advantage to five, 14-9, and force ECU’s final timeout of the set. A 4-0 run helped the Phoenix increase its lead to eight, 19-11, before the Pirates scored eight of the next 10 to pull within two of Elon, 21-19. The Phoenix pulled away and won the set, 25-21, on a final kill by C. Smith.
With Elon holding a 8-4 lead in the fourth set, the Phoenix used a 5-2 run with kills by C. Smith and Harris, a block by Eddy and Gravley and an ace by Nicksic to take a six-point advantage, 12-6. After back-to-back kills by Gravley and Nicksic put the maroon and gold up 14-8, Elon continued with a seven-point lead off a kill by C. Smith to take a 16-9 advantage. The Pirates cut its deficit to four, 21-17, but the Phoenix closed out the set with four straight to win 25-17 and take the 3-1 match victory.
Gravley led all players with 14 kills, while C. Smith finished with 11 and D. Smith recorded 10. On defense, Deatsch tallied a match-high 19 digs and Eddy finished with five blocks.
Elon will return home to Alumni Gym for a match against High Point on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m.