STATESBORO, Ga. – The Elon volleyball team came back from a 2-0 deficit at Georgia Southern to send the match to five sets but were not able to pull out the win, falling 3-2 (18-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 6-15) today, Oct. 14, in Hanner Fieldhouse. The Phoenix is now 10-13 (3-5 SoCon), while the Golden Eagles are now 16-6 (7-1 SoCon).
“I liked how we fought back after begin down 2-0,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “It is just really difficult to dig out of such a big hole against one of the top teams in the conference in their gym. We look forward to competing at home the next two weekends.”
Sophomore Danielle Smith led the Phoenix with 12 kills, while sophomore Kris Harris and freshman Megan Gravley finished with 11 and 10 kills, respectively. On defense, Harris recorded seven blocks and senior Celia Rose Eddy tallied six to help Elon out block GSU, 13-5.
In the first set, two kills by both Harris and Gravley helped Elon to a 5-2 lead over the Golden Eagles. GSU tied the set at six-all and took a three-point advantage, 12-9, before a kill by D. Smith and a block by Harris and Ana Nicksic helped pull the Phoenix within one, 12-11. After the Golden Eagles opened up a six-point lead, 18-12, the maroon and gold cut the deficit to four with the next two points off a kill by Eddy and an ace by Nicksic. However, GSU was able to hold on to the lead and win the set, 25-18.
A kill by Harris and a block by Harris and Nicksic gave the Phoenix a 3-0 advantage to start the second set. After the Golden Eagles pulled within one, 7-6, Elon scored three unanswered off GSU errors and a kill by Nicksic to go up by four, 10-6. Another kill by Nicksic and an ace by Chanelle Smith helped the maroon and gold maintain a four-point lead, 12-8. GSU came back to tie the set at 16-all and then take a 20-17 advantage. The Phoenix battled back off another block by Harris and Nicksic, a kill and ace by Harris and a kill by Gravley to even the score at 21-all. The Golden Eagles would finish the set on a 4-1 run and win 25-22.
The third set started off tight with 14 ties by the time the score reached 14-all. GSU then scored three straight to take a three-point lead, 17-14. The Phoenix used several Golden Eagle miscues and an ace by Maggie Reichard to take the lead, 19-18, and force a GSU timeout. Out of the timeout, Elon continued its run off another ace by Reichard and kills by D. Smith and C. Smith to cap a 6-0 run with a five-point lead, 23-18. Back-to-back blocks, one by Eddy and D. Smith and one by C. Smith and Harris, helped the Phoenix to a 25-19 set victory to keep the match alive.
Leading by one in the fourth, 11-10, the Phoenix used a 9-3 run with kills by Harris, Carly Ledbetter and Gravley and blocks by Harris and Nicksic and Ledbetter and Harris to increase the lead to seven, 20-13. The Golden Eagles then used a run of its own to pull within four, 21-17. Elon closed out the set by scoring four of the final six points with the help of a solo block by Eddy and one by Harris and Ledbetter to win, 25-19, and send the match into a deciding fifth set.
After GSU grabbed the first two points of the fifth set, Elon responded with three unanswered off a kill by D. Smith and a block by Eddy to go up by one, 3-2. The Golden Eagles went on an 8-1 run to regain the lead by six, 10-4. The Phoenix was not able to overcome the deficit as GSU took the set win, 15-6, and the match, 3-2.
Elon returns home next week for a pair of conference matches. The Phoenix host Wofford on Friday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. and Furman on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m.