ELON, N.C. – The first day of the Elon Phoenix Classic didn’t start in the right direction for the Elon volleyball team (0-5) as the Phoenix dropped its first match of the tournament, 3-1 (18-25, 21-25, 25-21, 25-27), to Charleston Southern (2-3) tonight, Sept. 4, in Alumni Gym.
“Congratulations to Charleston Southern on playing a great match,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “Our slow start made it difficult for us to get the win, but I was happy with how we bounced back. We enjoyed playing at home in front of a very supportive crowd tonight.”
Elon’s Sydney Busa led all players with 14 kills, while Megan Gravley recorded 12 kills for the Phoenix. Ally Karle finished with seven kills off 15 attempts with only one error to hit .400 in the match. Sydel Curry tallied 35 assists and finished with 12 digs for the double-double.
The Phoenix block continued to look strong as Elon out-blocked CSU, 14-7. Ally Karle led the maroon and gold with six blocks followed by five from Catherine Head and four by Gravley. Maddie Jaudon posted 22 digs along with 13 digs also coming from Morgan Maner.
Charleston Southern’s Katrina Houston and Connor Malone both finished with 12 kills, while Taylor Allman led all players with 23 digs.
How it happened: In the first set, the Bucs got off to an early 10-1 advantage, forcing an Elon timeout. The Phoenix was able to pull within seven after a Gravley kill but CSU held on for a 25-18 win.
The second set saw 10 ties by the time the score reached 17-all. From there, CSU managed five straight to claim a 22-17 edge. A kill by Karle helped the maroon and gold close the gap to three, 22-19, before the Bucs took a 2-0 lead with a 24-21 victory.
Elon took a six-point advantage, 13-7, in the third set with the help of blocks by Head, Gravley, Karle and Curry and an ace by Head before CSU evened the score, 13-all. With the Phoenix leading by two, 22-20, kills by Karle and Gravley gave the maroon and gold set point as a solo block by Karle would close out the set, 25-21, for Elon to keep the match alive.
Two kills from Karle and another ace by Head helped the Phoenix to an early 5-1 advantage in the fourth set. With the set tied at 12-all, the Bucs moved ahead by four, 17-13, forcing Elon to call its second timeout. CSU reached set point, 24-22, before kills by Busa and Gravley kept the win within reach to make it 24-all. Another Busa kill kept it 25-all but the Bucs were able to take the next two points for a 27-25 victory.
Notes: Curry’s double-double marked the first of the season for the sophomore setter and the fourth of her career…Busa’s 14 kills marked a new season high…The six blocks by Karle was the most for the junior since September of last season…The match marked the second straight time Elon has out-blocked its opponent…Head notched three aces against the Bucs, matching her career high…Elon holds a 7-6 advantage in the all-time series against Charleston Southern.
Up next: Elon finishes the second day of the Elon Phoenix Classic tomorrow, Sept. 5, with a 12:30 p.m. match against North Carolina Central and a 7 p.m. match against Wake Forest. Both matches are in Alumni Gym.