CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – After dropping the first two sets, the Elon volleyball team battled back to defeat Chattanooga, 3-2 (22-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17, 15-12), tonight, Oct. 19 in Maclellan Gym. The Phoenix is now 13-11 overall and 4-4 in Southern Conference play, while the Lady Mocs are 3-20 (2-6 SoCon).
“We worked really hard for this win tonight,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “Once we got the momentum in that third set, we never let up. Danielle (Smith) had a great offensive night and really mixed up her shots. We look forward to playing at home the next two weekends.”
Elon had five players finish with double-digit kill performances. Sophomore Megan Gravley posted a season-high 16 kills followed by a season-high 15 from junior Danielle Smith. Senior Cali Estes (10 kills, 13 assists), sophomore Ana Nicksic (45 assists, 13 digs) and freshman Kayla Agae (12 kills, 15 digs) all finished with double-doubles on the night. Freshman Ally Karle recorded a career-high 12 kills, while also tallying a career-high six blocks on defense. Both freshman Morgan Maner and senior Maggie Reichard finished with 16 digs.
The Lady Mocs held a five-point lead, 14-9, in the first set before kills by Estes and Gravley and a block by Karle and Estes gave Elon three straight points to pull within two. Down by four, 19-15, the Phoenix used a 5-2 run off kills by Gravley, Catherine Head, Agae and Estes and a solo block by Agae to cut the deficit to one, 21-20, and force a UTC timeout. Kills by Karle and Gravley would keep the set close but the Lady Mocs were able to hold on for a 25-22 win.
In the second set, a kill and an ace by Estes gave Elon a 5-6 advantage early. With the Lady Mocs leading 14-11, two kills by Gravley, one by Head and aces by both Maner and Estes helped the maroon and gold to a 7-2 run to give the Phoenix an 18-16 edge. Kills by both D. Smith and C. Smith put Elon up 21-18 before UTC managed to score the next five points to regain the lead, 23-21. Chattanooga would go on to win by another 25-22 final.
With the third set tied at seven-all, two kills by D. Smith and one by C. Smith gave Elon five of the next six points to put Elon up by four, 12-8. Kills by Estes and Gravley and a block by Estes and Karle kept the Phoenix at a four-point advantage, 16-12. The Lady Mocs would pull within two, 23-21, before kills by Karle and Estes closed out the set for a 25-22 Elon win to keep the match alive.
Elon led by two, 10-8, in the third set before kills by Gravley, Estes, Karle and Agae and a block by Karle and Estes gave the Phoenix an 8-2 run to take an eight-point advantage, 18-10. A kill by each Gravley and Karle would seal a 25-17 win for the Phoenix and send the match into a deciding fifth set.
In the fifth and final set, kills by Karle, Gravley and Agae and an ace by C. Smith would put Elon up 4-1 early. The Lady Mocs pulled within one, 8-7, before a kill and an ace by Agae moved the maroon and gold back to a three-point edge, 10-7. A block by Karle and Agae would close out the match to give Elon a 15-12 victory and complete the comeback .
The Phoenix returns home for its next match against Furman on Friday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym.