WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The Elon volleyball team (7-8) snapped a two-match losing streak by sweeping Hampton (7-8) and Howard (0-11) today, Sept. 15, in the final day of the Colonial Challenge. The Phoenix overcame a five-set loss earlier in the season to beat the Pirates, 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-19), and then defeat the Bison, 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-18).
“We were a very confident, consistent team today,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “It was nice to pick up two wins before we move on to conference play next week. We had a very balanced attack on offense today and Ana (Nicksic) did a good job of keeping all players involved.”
Elon opened the first set against Hampton on a 3-1 run off kills by Chanelle Smith, Kris Harris and an ace by Ali Deatsch. After the Pirates tied the score at four-all, the set remained close with neither team taking more than a two-point advantage. With the set knotted at 16, a kill and ace by Megan Gravley helped the Phoenix scored three straight and take a 19-16 lead. After a kill by C. Smith and an ace by Maggie Reichard helped the maroon and gold open a five-point advantage over the Pirates, 23-18, Elon moved on to win the set, 25-21.
A block by Gravley and Harris started the second set as Elon took a 5-0 lead. After the Pirates pulled within three, 6-3, kills by Catherine Head and Gravley put the Phoenix back up by five. The Pirates used a 4-0 run to tie the set at 10-all and then take the lead, 12-10. Hampton maintained the advantage until the Phoenix took five of the next six points off kills by Gravley and Head, an ace by Ana Nicksic and a block by Head and C. Smith to put Elon up by two, 20-18. Kills by D. Smith, Harris and C. Smith helped seal set win for the maroon and gold, 25-21.
The third set stayed extremely tight with 13 ties by the time the score reached 15-all. The Pirates held the advantage by one, 16-15, before a 5-1 run by the Phoenix off kills by C. Smith and Gravley put the maroon and gold up by three, 20-17. Elon closed the set by scoring four of the final five points off kills by Head, Gravley and Allison Johnson to earn the set, 25-19, and the sweep.
Gravley finished with 11 kills and Harris recorded nine. Head tallied seven kills off 13 attempts with no errors to .538 in the match. C. Smith led all players with 16 digs.
Two aces by Head and a kill by C. Smith helped the Phoenix take a five-point lead, 8-3, against Howard in the first set. The Bison cut the maroon and gold advantage to one, 16-15, before a 4-0 run off a kill by Harris, a kill and ace by C. Smith and a block by Nicksic and Harris put Elon back up by five, 20-15. The Phoenix would go on to win by the same advantage, 25-20.
After a kill by Danielle Smith put Elon up 5-3 in the second set, the Phoenix went on a 5-1 run to open up a six-point advantage, 10-4, over the Bison. Up by five, 13-8, the maroon and gold went on to score four straight with the help of kills by Celia Rose Eddy and D. Smith to take a 17-8 lead. The Phoenix would continue to build its lead and closed the set with a kill by Eddy to win by 11, 25-14.
The Bison opened the third set with an 8-5 lead over the maroon and gold, but the Phoenix followed that with four unanswered with the help of a kill by Gravley and an ace by C. Smith to take the lead by one, 9-8. The score stayed tight for several points until Elon pulled ahead by three off a kill by C. Smith, 15-12, forcing a Howard timeout. After the timeout, Elon finished the set, and the match, on a 10-6 run to win by a final of 25-18.
C. Smith finished the match with seven kills, seven digs and two aces. Gravley and Deatsch led all players with nine kills and 11 digs, respectively. Harris and Nicksic both recorded three blocks as the Phoenix out blocked the Bison 5-4.
Elon begins Southern Conference play on Thursday, Sept. 20, when the Phoenix takes on division-rival UNCG in a 7 p.m. match in Alumni Gym.