Elon Phoenix Volleyball Faces Penguins, Panthers and Spartans This Weekend

ELON, N.C. – After playing its first three matches of the year on the road, the Elon volleyball team plays its home opener this weekend as part of the Tussle in the Triad, which is tri-hosted by Elon, High Point and UNCG. The Phoenix (2-1) hosts Youngstown State (1-3) on Friday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym and then welcomes High Point (2-1) on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 11 a.m. The maroon and gold closes out the tournament at UNCG on Saturday, Sept. 3, in Greensboro, N.C., at 7 p.m. in Fleming Gym.

A Look at the Phoenix
Elon head volleyball coach Mary Tendler earned her 200th career victory as Elon swept North Carolina A&T, 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-23), on Tuesday in Greensboro, N.C. The Phoenix was led by 12 kills from Kam Terrry, while Michelle Klein tallied eight kills off 13 attempts with no errors to hit .615. Kayla Agae recorded four aces to go along with seven kills and nine digs. Rox Wood posted a match-high 26 assists, while Maddie Jaudon also finished with nine digs.

Scouting the Penguins
Youngstown State is 1-3 on the season after falling in five sets in its last match on Tuesday against Duquesne. The Penguins opened the year with a sweep of Ball State before losses to Fort Wayne and Murray State in the Fort Wayne Invitational. YSU returns three starters and 10 letterwinners from a team that finished 10-21 last season. The team ranks 22nd nationally in team kills with 200 and 13th in team service aces with 28. Sam Brown leads the team with 56 kills this year and averages 3.5 kills per set, while Val Jeffrey owns a .477 hitting percentage to go along with 9.94 assists/set, ranking seventh in the NCAA in total assists (159). Both Lori Vanbeek and Sarah Varcolla average over 1.00 blocks per set with 1.12 and 1.00, respectively.

Elon vs. Youngstown State
Friday marks the second all-time meeting between Elon and Youngstown State with each program holding one win. The Penguins won the first match on Sept. 15, 2000, 3-0, before the Phoenix claimed a sweep on Sept. 12, 2008. Both previous matches were held on a neutral court.

Scouting the Panthers
High Point started the season off at the Big Orange Bash in Clemson, S.C., posting a 2-1 record. The Panthers claimed a sweep of Wofford and a five-set win over William & Mary but fell to host Clemson, 3-1. Haley Barnes has recorded 45 kills this year to average 3.75 kills per set, while Molly Livingston is hitting .295 after 27 kills and 2.25 kills/set. Jenna Smith and Carly Jimenez split the setting duties for the Panthers with the two posting 4.58 and 5.42 assists/set, respectively. Livingston is also the leader at the net with 12 total blocks and tallies 1.00 blocks/set.

Elon vs. High Point
The Phoenix has played High Point more than any other team in program history. Saturday marks the 64th all-time match between the two teams with Elon holding the slight advantage, 32-31. The programs have met almost every year since Elon began sponsoring the sport in 1972. The Phoenix has won four of the last seven meetings, including a 3-2 victory on Sept. 10, 2014, in Alumni Gym. The Panthers claimed the win, 3-2, the last time the teams met on Sept. 1, 2015, in High Point, N.C.

Scouting the Spartans

UNCG is coming off a five-set win over Eastern Kentucky after falling in its first two matches of the season to Duke and LSU in the Duke Invitational. Ashley Muench has posted 51 kills for the Spartans so far to average 4.25 kills per set, including 24 kills in the match against EKU. Sara Hohman is averaging 10.4 assists/set, while Jasmine Jones has 15 total blocks to record 1.25 blocks/set.

Elon vs. UNCG
Saturday night marks the 54th all-time meeting between the Phoenix and the Spartans with UNCG leading 36-17. The last Elon victory came on Nov. 8, 2012, in a 3-1 win in Greensboro, N.C. The Spartans have won the last four straight, including last year’s match in Greensboro.

Block Party
After the first weekend of the season, Ally Karle leads the league and ranks 54th nationally in blocks per set. The senior is averaging 1.25 blocks per set after 13 total blocks this year.

Head Coach Mary Tendler
Elon head coach Mary Tendler is in her 14th season with the Phoenix program. She enters this weekend’s tournament with a 200-225 Elon and career coaching record. Tendler earned her 200th career victory on Aug. 30 with the maroon and gold’s win over North Carolina A&T.

Follow the Phoenix
Fans can follow the Phoenix throughout the season with updates on elonphoenix.com. Live stats for every volleyball match will be available on the team’s schedule and home pages on the Elon athletic website. In-game updates will also be provided on Twitter at @elonscores.

Elon Phoenix Classic
Next weekend, the Phoenix hosts its annual Elon Phoenix Classic, welcoming Norfolk State, Wofford, Delaware State and Gardner-Webb to Alumni Gym Friday, Sept. 9 – Saturday, Sept. 10. Elon takes on the Spartans and Terriers on Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. On Sept. 10, the Phoenix plays the Hornets at 11:30 a.m. before closing out the Elon Phoenix Classic against the Runnin’ Bulldogs at 7 p.m. that evening.

Looking Ahead
Elon plays another road mid-week match next week when it travels to Davidson, N.C., to take on the Davidson Wildcats on Tuesday, Sept. 6. The first serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Belk Arena.