ELON, N.C. – With the help of an energetic crowd, the Elon volleyball team opened its 2013 home slate with a strong showing, defeating Campbell, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-17), tonight, Sept. 3, in front of over 400 fans in Alumni Gym.
The Phoenix hit .400 as a team and held the Camels to a .128 attack percentage. Sophomore Megan Gravley and junior Chanelle Smith led Elon with 11 kills each. Gravley hit .526 off her 19 attempts with only one error, while C. Smith hit .458 with no errors off her 24 attempts. Senior Cali Estes contributed eight kills to hit .421 on the night. Sophomore Ana Nicksic and Estes ran the offense efficiently, combining for 35 of Elon’s 42 total assists.
On defense, Elon tallied eight team blocks with freshman Ally Karle recording five total blocks. Senior Maggie Reichard led the team with 15 digs, while C. Smith earned her first double-double of the season with 11 digs to go with her 11 kills.
“First of all, the crowd was awesome tonight and helped us maintain a very high level of play,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “Both Cali and Ana did a great job of putting our hitters in good position to score and that gave us a lot of offensive weapons. It was a great win for us before we go into another tournament this weekend.”
The first set remained tight with neither team taking more than a three-point advantage early on. With the score tied at 16-all, kills by Estes, Gravley and Kris Harris and helped Elon to a 4-0 run and a 20-16 lead. A block by Danielle Smith and Karle extended the advantage to five and gave the Phoenix a 25-20 win.
Elon took a 12-7 early lead in the second set, forcing Campbell to call a timeout. The Camels closed the gap to three, 13-10, but the serve of Harris helped spark the Phoenix to five straight points off kills by C. Smith, Estes and Karle to make it an eight-point edge, 18-10. The maroon and gold continued to force Campbell errors and earned a 25-19 victory to take a 2-0 match lead.
With the set knotted at three-all, a kill by C. Smith started a 10-2 run that gave Elon a 13-5 edge. With the Phoenix leading 14-8, a block by Harris helped Elon score four straight and move its advantage to 10, 18-8. An ace by Kayla Agae and kills by D. Smith and Gravley helped Elon close out the match as the Phoenix claimed a 25-17 final-set win.
Elon travels to Orlando, Fla., this weekend for the Holiday Inn Select/UCF Classic. The Phoenix will face host Central Florida and Stephen F. Austin on Friday, Sept. 6, before taking on George Washington on Saturday, Sept. 7.