Elon Volleyball Welcomes Four Teams for Elon Phoenix Classic

ELON, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team returns home to Alumni Gym this weekend to hosts its annual Elon Phoenix Classic Friday, Sept. 9 – Saturday, Sept. 10. The Phoenix (5-2) will take on all four visiting teams – Norfolk State (1-7), Wofford (3-4), Delaware State (0-6) and Gardner-Webb (4-2) – with a total of eight matches taking place in the two-day tournament. The maroon and gold faces NSU and Wofford on Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, before playing DSU at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 10 and closing out the tournament against GWU at 7 p.m. that evening.

A Look at the Phoenix
The Elon volleyball team tallied another road win on Tuesday, Sept. 6, with a 3-1 (25-17, 25-19, 18-25, 26-24) final at Davidson in Belk Arena. For the fourth time in as many matches, Sydel Curry set a new career high with 53 assists to average 13.25 assists per set against the Wildcats. The Phoenix was led by a career and match-high 25 kills from Kam Terry who tallied her third double-double of the season with 11 digs. Kayla Agae also claimed a double-double, her fourth straight, after 13 kills and a match-high 21 digs. On defense, Maddie Jaudon posted 20 digs, while Michelle Klein recorded a match-high five total blocks.

Scouting the Spartans
Norfolk State is 1-7 on the year with its only win coming against South Carolina State. All seven of the Spartans’ losses have come in three-set matches. Jessica Johnson, who tallied 17 kills in the team’s last match, leads NSU with 88 kills on the season and averages 3.67 kills per set, while also owning 2.25 digs/set. On defense, Melvina Brown posts 3.42 digs per set and Dominique Parker has tallied 14 total blocks.

Elon vs. Norfolk State
The Phoenix owns a 5-0 all-time record against the Spartans with all wins coming in straight sets. Two of the previous matches have been played in Alumni Gym, including the last one on Sept. 18, 2009.

Scouting the Terriers
Wofford posted a sweep of Presbyterian in its last match on Tuesday to improve to 3-4 on the season. The Terriers other two wins of the year have come in five-set victories against William & Mary and Appalachian State. Wofford has also been on the losing end of two five-set matches, falling to both Clemson and UNCW in its last two tournaments. Catie Cronister owns a team-high 73 kills this season to average 2.52 kills per set and ranks 14th nationally with 14 total aces. Lorissa King posts 7.48 assists per set, while Madeline Savage leads on defense with 3.66 digs per set.

Elon vs. Wofford
Friday night marks the 24th all-time meeting between the Phoenix and the Terriers with Elon leading the series, 18-5. The maroon and gold won 11 straight from 2006-2013 before Wofford claimed the last meeting, 3-1, on Nov. 8, 2013, in Spartanburg, S.C.

Scouting the Hornets
Delaware State is still in search of its first win of the season after claiming its first set win in a 3-1 loss at UMBC last weekend. Sabrina Szmajduch has posted 40 total kills this year followed by 30 kills from Jae Jackson who is also hitting .303. Alliyah McBean averages 4.16 digs per set, while Ariana Stevens has 13 total blocks to record 1.44 blocks/set.

Elon vs. Delaware State
The Phoenix and the Hornets have only met twice before with both previous meetings happening on Sept. 9. Elon won the first meeting, 3-0, in 2000 before a 3-1 victory in 2006.

Scouting the Runnin’ Bulldogs
Gardner-Webb is 4-2 on the year and, like Norfolk State, the team’s last win came against South Carolina State. Taylor Lillard and Nicole Celarek lead the Runnin’ Bulldogs with 64 and 61 total kills, respectively, averaging 2.67 and 2.54 kills per set. Emma Milstead is posting 5.46 digs per set to rank 10th nationally, while Hannah Driscoll has a strong presence at the net with 25 total blocks to average 1.04 blocks/set.

Elon vs. Gardner-Webb
The series against the Runnin’ Bulldogs dates back to 1980 with Elon leading, 25-8. The last meeting came in the Elon Phoenix Classic on Sept. 13, 2013, with the Phoenix taking a 3-2 victory. Elon has won the last seven straight matches between the two schools.

Elon Phoenix Classic History
The Phoenix has been hosting a home tournament consistently every year since 2006. In those nine years, Elon has gone a combined 15-15 in the tournament. Gardner-Webb has played in the Elon Phoenix Classic twice previously, while Norfolk State previously played in the Elon Classic in 2009. This marks Delaware State and Wofford’s first appearances in the tournament.

Phoenix Rankings
Just a few weeks into the season, the Phoenix is ranking high in several categories in the conference and in the nation. Elon is second in the CAA in kills per set with 13.17/set and third in assists with 12.14/set, while ranking 17th and 18th in total kills (382) and assists (352) in the NCAA. Individually, Sydel Curry leads the league and is 25th in the NCAA with 11.10 assists/set. Kayla Agae is fifth in the CAA in aces per set (0.45), 25th nationally in total aces (13) and eighth in the conference in kills per set (2.79). Kam Terry is 20th in the nation and first in the league in total kills (116) and third in the CAA in kills per set (4.00). Ally Karle ranks 38th in the NCAA in total blocks (32) and second in the conference with 1.23 blocks/set. In the CAA, Maddie Jaudon is fifth in digs per set (4.45) and Michelle Klein is 10th in hitting with a .323 percentage.

CAA Defensive Player of the Week
On Monday, Sept. 5, the CAA announced that Ally Karle had been named the CAA Defensive Player of the Week. Karle led the Phoenix that week, posting 17 total blocks in three matches to average 1.31 blocks per set. The middle blocker tallied seven blocks and nine kills in a 3-1 win over Youngstown State before adding another blocks and 10 kills against High Point. In the Tussle in the Triad finale at UNCG, the senior posted a season-high nine blocks in a 3-2 win to go along with eight kills. The Flanders, N.J., native also finished the week with 27 kills off 62 attempts and seven errors to hit .323. It marked the first time a Phoenix player the award since joining the league. Previously, Sydney Busa was honored as the rookie of the week in 2014.

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 203-226 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.

Looking Ahead
The Phoenix plays another Tuesday road match next week, traveling to nearby Durham, N.C., to face North Carolina Central. First serve against the Eagles is set for 7 p.m.