ELON, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team rebounded from a tough loss a day ago to take a 3-1 win (25-20, 25-17, 23-25, 25-23) over Western Carolina tonight, Nov. 2, in Alumni Gym. The Phoenix improves to 16-12 on the season and 7-5 in Southern Conference play, while the Catamounts fall to 16-10 (6-6 SoCon).
“We had a great team effort tonight,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “We set the tone early with some really good blocking, let by Catherine (Head), Ally (Karle) and Danielle (Smith). Western Carolina came out of the break strong and we didn’t get the momentum back until the very end of the fourth set. I’m proud of the girls for being able to make plays when it counted.”
Senior Cali Estes continues to impress by posting her fourth straight triple-double (fifth of the season) with a team-high 12 kills, 19 assists and 15 digs. Sophomore Megan Gravley and freshman Ally Karle both finished with 11 kills each. On defense, Elon out blocked the Catamounts, 15-7, with the help of a career-high eight blocks from sophomore Catherine Head and a career-high seven blocks from Karle.
With the first set tied at nine-all, kills by Danielle Smith and Gravley, a solo block by Head, as well as a block by D. Smith and Head, helped Elon to four straight to take the lead, 13-9. A kill by Estes moved the Phoenix to a six-point edge, 23-17. Two blocks by D. Smith and Head would give the maroon and gold two of the final three points to win the set, 25-20.
In the second set, the Phoenix went up 10-7 after kills by D. Smith, Gravley and a block by Head and Gravley. Back-to-back kills by Karle extended the Elon advantage to five, 13-8, before the Catamounts cut its deficit to three, 15-12. The maroon and gold forced several WCU errors and used kills by Chanelle Smith and Estes to move ahead by six, 21-15. Two straight kills by Head would close out the set in favor of the Phoenix, 25-17, and give Elon a 2-0 lead.
The third set was extremely close with neither team taking more than a three-point advantage and saw 12 ties by the team the score reached 23-all. From there, WCU managed to tally the last two points to win, 25-23, and send the match to a fourth set.
Western held the advantage through the majority of the fourth set but the Phoenix stayed within striking distance. The Catamounts led by five, 21-16, before a 4-0 run with two kills by Estes and one by Karle cut the gap to one, 21-20, and forced a WCU timeout. Out of the timeout, the Catamounts scored the next two before the Phoenix evened the score at 23-all with a block by Karle and C. Smith. A block by Karle and Estes and a kill by Karle gave Elon the final two points to take a 25-23 win and close out the match.
The Phoenix will play next at Wofford on Friday, Nov. 8, in Spartanburg, S.C., at 7 p.m.