ELON, N.C. – The Elon and Delaware volleyball teams met for the first time tonight, Oct. 19, with the Blue Hens (12-11, 5-3 CAA) claiming a 3-0 (23-25, 27-29, 22-25) win over the Phoenix (5-18, 0-7 CAA) in Alumni Gym.
“It was a very competitive match tonight, with Delaware making some key plays at crucial times,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “We need to be much more aggressive and confident at the end of sets. Our defense improved from our last match, which was very encouraging. We will need a to continue to improve in that area as we progress through the rest of the CAA schedule.”
Sydney Busa and Ally Karle led the Phoenix with nine kills each, while Catherine Head tallied seven. On defense, Kris Harris led all players with seven blocks to help Elon out block Delaware, 10-5. Sydel Curry, Head, Busa and Karle all finished with three blocks each.
After Delaware took a 4-1 lead in the first set, Elon rallied with a 5-1 run capped by a Busa kill to even the score at six-all. The set was tied three more times before the Phoenix scored five straight off an ace by Head, a kill by Curry and back-to-back blocks by Harris and Curry and Harris and Karle to take a 14-9 advantage. Elon maintained its advantage until the Blue Hens evened the score at 20-all. With the set 23-all, UD managed the next two points off kills by Autumn Jenkins to claim the first set, 25-23.
The Blue Hens led by as much as three in the beginning of the second set until kills by Head and Busa and a block by Head and Megan Gravley brought the Phoenix even, 14-all. Delaware managed to regain a three-point edge, 23-21, before Elon claimed three of the next four points off kills by Busa and Gravley and blocks by Head, Curry and Karle to tie the set at 24-all. An ace by Head gave the maroon and gold set point, 27-26, but the Blue Hens closed out the set on a 3-0 run for a 29-27 win.
A kill by Karle, block by Harris and Busa and an ace by Curry put Elon off to a good start in the third set, 3-0. Delaware would take the lead, 8-5, before the Phoenix tied the set again, eight-all. The score was tied three more times until the Blue Hens claimed a four-point edge, 20-16. Delaware maintained its lead and gained set point, 24-19. Elon would not give up and claimed the next three points off kills by Michelle Klein, Head and Chanelle Smith to close the gap to two, 24-22. However, UD used a Katie Hillman kill to close out the set, 25-22, and the match.
Next weekend, Elon makes the return trip to play at Northeastern and Hofstra. The Phoenix plays the Huskies in Boston on Friday, Oct. 24, at 4 p.m. before taking on the Pride on Sunday, Oct. 26, at 1 p.m. in Hempstead, N.Y.