ELON, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team rallied twice in its match against James Madison today, Nov. 2, before falling to the Dukes, 3-2 (23-25, 25-20, 19-25, 25-23, 12-15), in its final home match of the season in Alumni Gym.
“Wow, what a way to end our home schedule,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “Both sides played really hard from start to finish, which made for some very competitive volleyball. The fan support was great, which we really appreciate. We just wish we could have pulled out the win for our fans, our players and especially our senior class. The seniors have meant so much to our program these last four years, they will definitely be missed, but I know they have great things in store for them in the future.”
Kayla Agae posted her seventh double-double of the season with a match-high 22 kills and 10 digs, while also tallying four blocks. Ana Nicksic also recorded a double-double after 31 assists and a team-high 15 digs. The Elon defense out blocked the Dukes, 12.5-7, after five blocks from both Kris Harris and Catherine Head.
With the score tied at 10-all in the first set, the Dukes managed a 4-1 run to take a 14-11 advantage and force an Elon timeout. The Phoenix answered two kills by Agae, one by Harris and forced several JMU errors to take the lead, 17-16. The Dukes regained the lead and reached set point, 24-21. The maroon and gold briefly held JMU with a block by Agae and Head and closed the gap to one, 24-23, but the Dukes moved on to win, 25-23.
After trailing by two in the second set, the Phoenix evened the set at 14-all after a Sydney Busa kill and then used a kill by Ally Karle and a block by Karle, Head and Megan Gravley to take the lead by two, 16-14. Kills by Gravley, Busa and Agae and a block by Busa and Head moved the maroon and gold ahead by six, 22-16. Elon would maintain its advantage and even the match at one set each after a 25-20 win.
JMU came out strong in the third set with an early 5-1 lead. The Dukes extended that edge to 10, 20-10, after several errors by the Phoenix. With JMU leading by five, 21-16, kills by Gravley. Morgan Maner and Agae would close the gap to four, 23-19, but were not able to catch the Dukes as Elon dropped the set, 25-19.
With the fourth set tied at six-all, the Phoenix scored three straight with the help of kills by Michelle Klein and Gravley to take the lead, 9-6. Kills by Agae helped Elon extend its advantage to five, 21-16. The Dukes cut its deficit to two, 22-20. The maroon and gold used a Busa kill and forced JMU errors to take set point, 24-22, before a kill by Agae gave Elon the 25-23 win and kept the match alive for the Phoenix.
A kill by Chanelle Smith and an ace by Nicksic put the Phoenix ahead early, 2-0, before the Dukes evened the set and the score saw five ties by the time it reached, six-all. After JMU took a 9-6 advantage, a kill by Klein, two attack errors by the Dukes and a block by Nicksic and Klein capped four straight for Elon and gave the Phoenix a 10-9 lead. With the set tied at 11-all, the Dukes claimed four of the final five points to take a 15-12 win and claim the match.
Elon plays the rest of its remaining matches on the road, beginning with a match at UNC Wilmington on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in Wilmington, N.C.