DURHAM, N.C. – Playing its second match with all available players, the Elon volleyball team (5-10) took home a hard-fought 3-0 (25-21, 28-26, 26-24) win at North Carolina Central (0-16) tonight, Sept. 23, in McDougald-McLendon Gym.
“The impressive thing about tonight’s match was that we finished strong in each set,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “We had players that stepped up and made plays when needed to win. We’re excited to get the win tonight and look forward to our first CAA match on Friday.”
Ally Karle led all players with 13 kills, while Sydney Busa finished with 11 kills on the night. Both Chelsea Rafetto and Chanelle Smith posted double-doubles with Smith tallying 10 kills and a match-high 18 digs and Rafetto recording 35 assists and 13 digs. Michelle Klein helped the team to seven total team block with four blocks.
After Elon started off to a 3-1 lead in the first set, service aces by the Eagles helped NCCU rally to go up 6-4. With Central leading by four, 11-7, kills by C. Smith, Busa and Klein pulled the Phoenix within one, 11-10. Two kills by Karle and a block by Busa and Harris would regain the advantage for the maroon and gold and put the team up by three, 19-16. A kill by C. Smith closed out the set for a 25-21 win for the Phoenix.
The second set was tight with neither team taking more than a two-point edge and 16 ties by the time the score reached 20-all. From there, Elon used two blocks by Harris and Karle and a Busa kill to cap a 4-1 run and take a 24-21 lead. The Eagles would not back down and kept Elon at set point four times before a kill by Karle gave Elon a 28-26 victory.
The Eagles came out with an 8-4 advantage in third set. The Phoenix forced several Eagle errors to pull within two, 13-11, and force an NCCU timeout. The Eagles would take as much as a four-point lead, 20-16, before blocks by Klein, Busa and Rafetto and kills by C. Smith and Busa evened the score at 21-all. The maroon and gold continued its run and reached set point, 24-22. The Eagles remained strong and tied the set again at 24-all before a Karle kill finished the set, 26-24, and gave Elon the 3-0 win.
Elon plays its first Colonial Athletic Association match in program and school history on Friday, Sept. 26, when it hosts Hofstra in Alumni Gym at 7 p.m.