Elon Volleyball Falls in Five-Set Heartbreaker at Northeastern

BOSTON – The Elon volleyball team rallied from a two-set deficit at Northeastern to send the match to a deciding fifth set but the Huskies came out with the win, 3-2 (24-26, 18-25, 25-22, 25-17, 12-15), tonight, Oct. 24, in the Cabot Center.

“We battled hard throughout the entire five sets tonight,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “Our bench really stepped up and made a difference in the match. We had a hard time getting into a rhythm with all of the serving errors. We need to do a much better job at the service line against Hofstra on Sunday.”

Sydney Busa led the Phoenix with a career-high 20 kills to go along with two service aces and three blocks. Kala Agae recorded a double-double after 13 kills and a match-high 18 digs. Ana Nicksic also finished with a double-double after 35 assists and 12 digs. Catherine Head helped Elon out block the Huskies, 12-8, with six total blocks, including three solo, and hit .462 on the night after seven kills on 13 attempts and only one error.

The first set started tight with seven ties by the time the score reached 10-all. Kills by Ally Karle and Megan Gravley kept the Phoenix within one point of the Huskies before a few Phoenix errors gave NU a 21-16 lead and forced an Elon timeout. Trailing 22-18, a kill by Michelle Klein and back-to-back kills by Busa helped the maroon and gold to a 4-0 run to cut the deficit to one, 22-21. Northeastern reached set point, 24-22, but the Phoenix rallied with two straight points with the help of a block by Head and Sydel Curry and evened the set for the eighth time, 24-all. The Huskies took the next two points to take the set, 26-24.

With the Huskies leading by four in the second set, 8-4, Elon used a Busa kill to close the gap to two, 11-9. Northeastern extended its advantage and took as much as an eight-point edge, 23-15. Kills by rookies Busa and Klein kept the Huskies from closing out the set but NU held on to win, 25-18.

The Phoenix took a quick 5-1 lead in the third set after blocks by Agae and Klein and Klein and Busa and a kill by Busa. The Huskies pulled within one, 9-8, but Elon answered with three straight with the help of a kill by Busa to regain a four-point advantage, 12-8. After the Huskies closed the gap to one, 15-14, the maroon and gold used the serve of Busa for a 3-0 run, capped by a Chanelle Smith kill, to go up, 18-14. Smith sealed the win for the Phoenix with a kill to give Elon a 25-22 win and keep the match alive.

Elon took that momentum into the fourth set, using kills by Smith and Agae and a block by Busa and Klein to take a 5-1 lead and force an early Huskie timeout. Leading by two, 6-4, a kill and an ace by Busa and two solo blocks by Head helped the maroon and gold to a 7-1 run and an eight-point advantage, 13-5. A kill by Busa and another solo block by Head kept the maroon and gold in the lead by seven, 21-14. The Phoenix claimed the set, 25-17, off a Busa kill to send the match to a deciding fifth and final set.

After Northeastern took a 4-1 advantage and forced an Elon timeout, the Phoenix went on a 4-2 run off two kills by Busa and one by Head to close the gap to one, 6-5. Trailing by two, 9-7, two kills by Agae and one by Busa helped the Phoenix to three of the next four points to even the set at 10-all. The Huskies reached set point, 14-12, and was able to hold off the Phoenix one last time to take the 15-12 final-set win and the match victory.

The Phoenix travels to Hempstead, N.Y., to play Hofstra in its next match on Sunday, Oct. 26. First serve is set for 1 p.m.