ELON, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team begins its 2016 campaign this weekend at the Charlotte Invitational in Charlotte, N.C. The Phoenix is set to face host Charlotte in its season opener on Friday, Aug. 26, at noon before taking on Campbell on Saturday, Aug. 27, at 5 p.m.
Elon returns 12 players from the 2015 season, including four seniors in Kayla Agae, Ally Karle, Morgan Maner and Ebony Scott. Returning starters Sydney Busa and Sydel Curry also bring a wealth of experience to the team.
The Phoenix returns four of its five offensive players in kills and kills per set from last year in hitters Busa, Kam Terry, Karle and Scott. While Curry brings strong experience to the setter position after leading the team in both assists and assists per set in 2015.
In 2016, the maroon and gold defense sees the return of libero Maddie Jaudon and a strong team block, which is led by Karle who averaged 1.11 blocks per set and tallied over 100 total blocks last season.
The Phoenix welcomes three newcomers to this year’s squad in freshmen – Elizabeth Coil, Mackenzie Taylor and Nori Thomas. The team also has a new assistant coach in Karlis Dunens who joined the maroon and gold in January 2016.
Elon vs. Charlotte
The series with Charlotte dates back to 1976 as the teams have met 12 times previously. The 49ers hold the all-time advantage, 7-5, but the Phoenix has won three of the last four meetings. The last time the two teams played was on Sept. 21, 2013, in the 49er Invitational with Elon claiming a 3-1 win to earn the tournament title.
Elon vs. Campbell
The Phoenix and the Camels have met 15 times previously with Campbell holding a 12-3 advantage in the series. Elon has claimed three of the last five matches, dating back to 2008, but CU won the last meeting on Sept. 13, 2014, 3-1, in the Hampton Inn & Suites of Holly Springs Invitational in Buies Creek, N.C. The maroon and gold won both of the two previous matches on Sept. 27, 2011, and Sept. 3, 2013, in 3-0 finals.
Head Coach Mary Tendler
Elon head coach Mary Tendler is in her 14th season with the Phoenix program. She enters the Charlotte Invitational with a 198-224 Elon and career coaching record.
Elon in Season Openers
Since joining the Division I ranks, Elon has gone 8-9 in season openers over the last 17 years.
Setter Sydel Curry is a native of the Queen City, having grown up in Charlotte, N.C. The junior attended Charlotte Christian before arriving at Elon.
Tusssle in the Triad
The next tournament the Phoenix competes in is the Tussle in the Triad on Friday, Sept. 2 – Saturday, Sept. 3. The tournament is tri-hosted by Elon, UNCG and High Point. The maroon and gold hosts its home opener on Friday, Sept. 2, in the tournament against Youngstown State in Alumni Gym at 7 p.m. The Phoenix returns to Alumni the next morning to host High Point on Sept. 3 at 11 a.m. before traveling to nearby Greensboro, N.C., that evening to take on UNCG at 7 p.m.
The Phoenix returns to the court on Tuesday, Aug. 30, to take on North Carolina A&T. The match is set for 7 p.m. in Greensboro, N.C.