Elon Volleyball Opens CAA Play with Trip to Northeast

ELON, N.C. – After a weekend off, the Elon volleyball team opens Colonial Athletic Association play this weekend with a trip to play Northeastern and Hofstra. The Phoenix (3-10) faces Northeastern (3-13, 0-1) on Friday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. in Boston before a tangle with the Pride (10-6, 1-0) on Sunday, Sept. 26, at 1 p.m. in Hempstead, N.Y.

A Look at the Phoenix
Elon dropped a tough match, 3-1, against UNCG on Sept. 16 in Alumni Gym. The Phoenix saw the fourth double-double of the season from Sydney Busa who had 12 kills and 13 digs. Both Kayle Agae and Kam Terry finished with nine kills, while Sydel Curry and Ana Nicksic recorded 32 and 12 assists, respectively. On defense, Maddie Jaudon matched her career high and led all players with 26 digs to average 6.5 digs per set.

Scouting the Huskies
Northeastern opened up conference play on Wednesday against Hofstra and led the Pride, 2-0, before falling in five with a 15-13 defeat in the fifth set. NU is looking to break its current four-match loosing skid with its last win coming against NJIT on Sept. 12. Outside hitter Brigitte Burcescu leads the Huskies with 211 kills on the season and averages 3.4 kills per set, while setter Jamie Bredahl has tallied one triple-double so far on the season. Northeastern has won all three previous meetings, including the two CAA matches last season. The Phoenix fell just short of a win in the last match against the Huskies on Oct. 24, 2014, 3-2, after a 15-12 loss in the fifth set.

Scouting the Pride
Hofstra is the reigning CAA tournament champions and boasts a 10-6 overall record this season. The Pride rallied from a 2-0 deficit at Northeastern Wednesday to claim a 15-13 fifth-set win and 3-2 match victory to start 1-0 in CAA play. Hofstra ranks fourth nationally in kills with Veronika Kostova 19th individually and first in the conference. Setter Hannah Klemm ranks second in the nation in total assists and is 12th in assists per set. On defense, the Pride is eighth nationally in total blocks, while rookie Michela Rucli, who has earned both CAA Defensive Player and Rookie of the Week honors this season, ranks second nationally in the same category. The Pride lead the all-time series against the Phoenix, 2-0, with both meetings coming last season.

Nearing 1,000 Kills
Outside hitter Megan Gravley is close to reaching the career milestone of 1,000 kills. The Apex, N.C., native has recorded 995 kills so far in her career and is averaging 2.72 kills per set. The last Elon player to reach 1,000 kills was Caroline Lemke who finished her career in 2011 with 1,279 kills.

Block Party
The Elon defense has been impressive at the net so far this season and is out-blocking opponents 115.5-80. The Phoenix has out-blocked the other team in eight of its 13 matches this year and is averaging 2.5 blocks per set. The maroon and gold block has been led by Catherine Head and Ally Karle. Both Head and Karle have career-high 10 block matches in 2015, which ranks in the top three on the program’s Division I single-match records list, and are averaging 1.13 and 1.11 blocks/set, respectively. Elon ranks 45th nationally (third in the conference) in total blocks and 53rd (second in CAA) in blocks per set.

Head Coach Mary Tendler
Elon head coach Mary Tendler is in her 13th season with the Phoenix program. She enters this weekend’s matches with a 194-211 Elon and career coaching record.

With each match preview, elonphoenix.com will present at One-on-One feature with a member of the volleyball team. This week’s One-on-One is with senior Megan Gravley.

Looking Ahead
Elon returns home next weekend to host its first CAA matches of the season. The Phoenix welcomes James Madison on Friday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. and the Towson Tigers on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 2 p.m. in Alumni Gym.