ELON, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team returns home to Alumni Gym this weekend to host its final two home matches of the season. The Phoenix (5-21, 0-10 CAA) welcomes William & Mary (6-19, 2-8 CAA) on Friday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. before a contest against James Madison (13-10, 5-5 CAA) on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m.
The Phoenix made its first trip to Boston and New York as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association last weekend to play Northeastern and Hofstra. Elon lost a heartbreaker to the Huskies, 3-2, before falling to the Pride, 3-0. After dropping the first two sets to NU, the maroon and gold rallied to even the match and send it to a fifth set. Northeastern eventually took the final set, 15-12. Sydney Busa recorded a career-high 20 kills, while Kayla Agae (13 kills, 18 digs) and Ana Nicksic (35 assists, 12 digs) both posted double-doubles. Catherine Head continued her presence at the net, leading the defense to a 20-12 total team block advantage after tallying 11 total blocks to average 1.38 blocks/set.
Elon vs. William & Mary
The Tribe claimed a 3-1 win over the Phoenix when the teams last met on Oct. 4 in Williamsburg, Va. The maroon and gold saw a double-double from Sydney Busa, who tallied 13 kills and 11 digs, and earned CAA Rookie of the Week after that performance. The Tribe ranks third in conference play in blocks with 2.4 blocks/set and is led by Carolyn Albright who averages 1.12 blocks/set.
Elon vs. James Madison
Sunday marks the third meeting between the Phoenix and the Dukes and JMU’s first visit to Alumni Gym. In its previous match, Elon held the lead after the first set but JMU rallied to take the 3-1 win. Megan Gravley led the team with 14 kills, while Catherine Head posted seven blocks. The Dukes are a strong defensive team and rank second in the conference in blocks and third in digs. Lizzy Briones is second in the CAA with 1.32 blocks per set, while both MacKenzie Kleespies and Taylor Austin rank in the top six in digs with 4.78 and 3.44 digs per set, respectively.
All fans are invited to wear their Halloween costumes to Friday’s match against William & Mary. There will be a costume contest and free candy for everyone.
Sunday’s match against James Madison marks senior day for the team’s three seniors – Kris Harris, Chanelle Smith and Danielle Smith. The trio has helped Elon to three straight conference tournament appearances over the last four seasons, as well as the program’s transition to the CAA.
Head Coach Mary Tendler
Elon head coach Mary Tendler is in her 12th season with the Phoenix program. She enters this weekend’s matches with a 190-196 Elon and career record. Tendler is 10 wins away from reaching the century mark in career wins.
Elon plays its final four games of the regular season on the road, beginning with a match at UNC Wilmington on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in Wilmington, N.C.