BIRMINGHAM, ALA. – The Elon volleyball team was not able to overcome a slow start and fell, 3-0 (14-25, 21-25, 21-25), at Samford tonight, Oct. 18. The Phoenix is now 12-11 and 3-4 in the Southern Conference, while Samford improves to 13-9 on the season (4-3 SoCon).
“We struggled defending Samford tonight,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “They had a good offensive night even though we served them pretty tough, especially in the second and third sets. We actually played really well in the stretches, just didn’t make enough plays to win.”
Sophomore Megan Gravley recorded a season-high 13 kills for the Phoenix, while freshman Kayla Agae finished with seven kills. Senior Cali Estes tallied three aces as sophomore Ana Nicksic finished with another two. On defense, junior Chanelle Smith posted 10 digs.
Kills by Ally Karle and Catherine Head early in the first set quickly gave Elon a 2-1 lead before the Bulldogs moved to an 11-5 advantage, forcing a Phoenix timeout. Samford managed to extend its lead to 10, 18-8, and held on to win 25-14.
With the maroon and gold trailing, 7-2, in the second set, two kills by Danielle Smith and one by Agae helped Elon to a 4-0 run to pull within one. Samford held a two-point edge, 12-10, but an ace by Nicksic and two kills by Gravley gave Elon the lead, 14-12. The Bulldogs would regain the advantage again by two, 18-16, before a kill by Agae, an ace by Estes and a block by Agae and Head put the Phoenix back on top, 19-18. Samford would manage to pull away and win 25-21 to take a 2-0 match lead.
Elon fell behind, 8-3, in the third set but responded with five straight off a kill by Agae, a block by Head and D. Smith and two aces by Estes to tie the score at eight-all. The set would remain close until the Bulldogs pulled ahead by four, 20-16. Four kills by Gravley would bring the Phoenix back within two, 23-21, but Samford was able to hold on for a 25-21 victory.
The Phoenix will travel to Chattanooga, Tenn., next for a match against the Lady Mocs tomorrow, Oct. 19, at 6 p.m.