GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team used season-highs from Danielle Smith and Ana Nicksic to defeat local Southern Conference rival UNCG, 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 29-31, 25-22), tonight, Nov. 8, in Fleming Gym. The Phoenix (15-15, 8-7 SoCon) now holds a one-match advantage over the Spartans (13-14, 7-8 SoCon) for second in the conference’s North Division.
“All 14 of our players worked hard in practice this week and it paid off,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “I’m proud of the players for staying focused and handling the pressure of a big match. They executed on both offense and defense very well tonight.”
D. Smith led the Phoenix with 15 kills off 32 attempts and only one error to hit .438. Kris Harris and Megan Gravley followed with 13 and 12 kills, respectively. Nicksic posted a career and season-high of 55 assists to average 13.75 per set. The Phoenix recorded five aces, including two by Ali Deatsch, while UNCG did not tally an ace in the match.
On defense, Deatsch finished with 20 digs and Chanelle Smith totaled 15. At the net, Harris, D. Smith and Celia Rose Eddy all recorded four blocks a piece.
In the first set, Elon used the serve of Maggie Reichard and Deatsch to jump out to a 9-4 lead. The Spartans cut its deficit to one, 12-11, before the Phoenix went on a 7-2 run off kills by Harris, Eddy, Gravley and Nicksic to extend the lead to six, 19-13. Up by three, 23-20, the Phoenix used blocks by Nicksic and Eddy and then Gravley and Eddy to win the set, 25-20.
The second set was a back-and-forth affair with 17 ties before the score reached 18-all. From there, Elon scored three unanswered off a block by D. Smith and Eddy, a kill by Harris and an ace by Deatsch to take a 21-18 advantage. The Phoenix would go on to win four of the next six points to close the set with another 25-20 win and take a 2-0 match lead.
Down by three in the third, 6-3, the maroon and gold went on a 6-0 run with the help of kills by Harris and Gravley and an ace by C. Smith to take a 9-6 lead. With the Phoenix up by four, 19-15, UNCG scored four straight to tie the set at 19-all. The two teams traded points until the set was knotted at 29. The Spartans scored the final two points to win an extremely tight set, 31-29, and send the match into a fourth set.
Leading by two, 9-7, Elon used kills by Gravley and D. Smith and two kills and a solo block by C. Smith to score six unanswered and extend its lead to eight, 15-7. The maroon and gold maintained its advantage until UNCG pulled within one, 22-21. Two kills by Eddy helped Elon seal the 25-22 win and the 3-1 match victory.
The Phoenix will play its final match of the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 10, at The Citadel. First serve is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.