VALPARAISO, Ind. – The Elon volleyball team was unable to put a mark on Valparaiso’s perfect season as the Phoenix fell to the Crusaders, 3-0 (21-25, 18-25, 16-25), tonight, Sept. 11, in the Popcorn Classic.
Elon’s Sydel Curry tallied the only double-double of the match after 11 assists and 10 digs. Both Megan Gravley and Ally Karle recorded six kills for the Phoenix (2-8), while Ana Nicksic also finished with 11 assists.
The maroon and gold defense out-blocked the Crusaders, 9-4, with the help of six blocks by Catherine Head and five from Ebony Scott.
“I was pleased with how we started the match tonight,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “We had good ball control and were aggressive at the net. Unfortunately, we started making some unforced errors that we couldn’t overcome against a strong Valparaiso team.”
The Crusaders (8-0) saw a match-high 12 kills from Emily Campbell, while Kelsey Berrington tallied 23 assists and Morganne Longoria had 15 digs.
How it happened: Trailing 6-3 in the first set, kills by Gravley and Scott and a block by Scott and Head helped the Phoenix to five straight to take an 8-6 lead. The Crusaders eventually regained the advantage but Elon was able to tie the score six more times before taking the edge, 20-19. From there, Valpo managed to finish out the set on a 6-1 run to win 25-21.
The Crusaders used the momentum into the second set, moving out to a 7-1 lead. The Phoenix used a block by Head and Scott and kills by Karle and Scott to close the gap to three, 11-8. However, Valpo went on to claim a 25-18 final for a 2-0 match lead.
The maroon and gold stayed close with the Crusaders through the beginning of the third set, trailing by two, 10-8, before Valpo managed to score seven straight to take a nine-point advantage. Elon was unable to mount a comeback as the Crusaders closed out the match with a 25-16 set victory.
Notes: Elon has out-blocked seven of its opponents in the 10 matches it has played this season…Gravley’s six kills leave her 13 away from reaching the 1,000-career kill mark…The match marked the first in program history between the Phoenix and Crusaders.
Up next: The Phoenix plays its next match of the Popcorn Classic tomorrow, Sept. 12, when it takes on Kennesaw State at 10 a.m. (EST) in the ARC.