BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Elon volleyball team’s winning streak came to an end tonight, Nov. 2, as the Phoenix fell, 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 20-25, 18-25), at division leader Samford. Elon is now 14-14 on the season and 7-6 in Southern Conference play, while the Bulldogs improve to 19-8 overall and 11-2 in the conference.
“We had spurts of playing great volleyball tonight against a very good team,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “We are still struggling at executing at the start of matches. It’s hard to start out in a hole and it takes a lot of energy to come back. Chanelle (Smith) had another great performance tonight from the left side position. She played hard with a lot of aggressiveness.”
Sophomore Chanelle Smith led the Phoenix with 15 kills off 30 attempts and only two errors to hit .433. Freshman Megan Gravley finished with nine kills, while senior Celia Rose Eddy recorded eight kills and five blocks.
Down by seven in the first set, 19-12, Elon went on a 4-1 run off a kill by Eddy, three straight kills by C. Smith and a block by Kris Harris and Ana Nicksic to close the gap to four, 20-16. Kills by C. Smith and Gravley kept the Phoenix within four, 22-18, before the Bulldogs closed the set with a 25-20 win.
With the second set tied at 13-all, Samford then took the advantage with a 7-4 run to go up by three, 20-17. The maroon and gold then scored five straight with kills by Eddy and Gravley and a block by Danielle Smith and Eddy to take a two-point edge, 22-20. Elon held on to its lead as kills by D. Smith and C. Smith sealed the 25-23 victory to even the match.
The third set remained tight at the beginning with the score at nine-all before the Bulldogs claimed a four-point lead, 15-11. Down by five, 20-15, Elon used several Samford miscues and a kill by Nicksic to cap a 3-2 run. Samford would go on to win the set, 25-20, to regain the match advantage.
The maroon and gold opened the fourth set with a 6-2 lead of two kills and a block by Eddy. The Bulldogs evened the set at eight-all before an 8-1 run put Samford up 16-9. With the score in favor of the Bulldogs, 22-14, the Phoenix put together a 4-1 run with the help of kills by C. Smith and Eddy to cut the deficit to five, 23-18. The lead was too much for Elon to overcome as Samford won the final set, 25-18, to earn the 3-1 win.
Elon will take on Chattanooga tomorrow, Nov. 3, at 6 p.m. in Chattanooga, Tenn.