VALPARAISO, Ind. – The Elon volleyball team rallied to keep the match alive after three sets but was unable to claim a win over Loyola, falling 3-1 (13-25, 20-25, 25-23, 18-25) today, Sept. 11, in the first match of the Popcorn Classic hosted by Valparaiso.
Ally Karle led the Phoenix (2-7) with nine kills off 15 attempts and only one error to hit .533 in the match. Kayla Agae also tallied nine kills followed by eight from Sydney Busa.
The defense recorded seven total team blocks with the help of three by both Karle and Catherine Head, while Maddie Jaudon finished with 18 digs.
“The slow start today really hurt us,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “We started competing much better in the second set and we were able to get the win in the third. I was proud of how we fought back but we need to get off to better starts.”
The Ramblers (5-2) saw a double-double from Morgan Reardon who recorded a match-high 21 kills and 15 digs. Brittany Brown and Amanda Cushen both finished with double-digit kill performances with 13 and 10, respectively.
How it happened: Elon trailed by four in the first set, 7-3, before blocks by Ebony Scott, Karle and Busa closed the gap to two, 8-6. The Ramblers continued to move ahead and claimed the set with a 25-13 final.
An ace by Kam Terry and kill by Scott put the Phoenix ahead in the second set, 5-2. Loyola responded to tie the score and take the advantage, 7-6. With the Ramblers at set point, 24-18, kills by Scott and Agae held Loyola for a time but the maroon and gold was unable to overcome the deficit as the Ramblers moved on, 25-20.
The Elon block came alive in the third set with three blocks, all of which included Head, by the time the Phoenix took a 6-3 advantage. The maroon and gold took as much as a seven-point edge, 15-7, before the Ramblers pulled within four, 16-12. Loyola tied the set at 22-all before kills by Head and Agae gave Elon a 25-22 win to keep the match alive.
In the fourth set, blocks and kills by Megan Gravley and Karle kept the Phoenix even with the Ramblers, seven-all. Loyola would take the lead but the maroon and gold kept itself within a two-to-three point deficit. Holding a 21-18 lead, the Ramblers managed to close out the set on a 4-0 run to take the set, 25-18, and the match.
Notes: This match marked the first meeting between Loyola and Elon…Gravley is now only 18 kills from reaching the 1,000-career kill milestone.
Up next: Elon continues the Popcorn Classic tonight against host Valparaiso at 8 p.m. (EST) in the ARC.