ELON, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team looks to extend its current winning streak to seven on Tuesday, Sept. 13, when the Phoenix (9-2) travels to Durham, N.C., to take on North Carolina Central (1-5) in its home opener at 7 p.m. in McDougald-McLendon Arena.
A Look at the Phoenix
Elon finished off a 5-0 week over the weekend after claiming the Elon Phoenix Classic title with a 4-0 mark in the tournament. The Phoenix tallied a victory at Davidson early in the week before wins over Norfolk State, Wofford, Delaware State and Gardner-Webb in the tournament, including sweeps over NSU and DSU. The maroon and gold had a strong offensive week led by Sydel Curry, Kam Terry and Ebony Scott. Curry averaged 10.5 assists per set, Terry tallied 61 total kills and 3.81 kills/set, while Scott added 49 kills to hit .304. On defense, the Phoenix averaged 3.16 blocks per set, out-blocking opponents 60-25. The blocking effort was led by Michelle Klein who posted 28 total blocks (1.65/set) and Ally Karle with 24 blocks (1.41/set). Scott, Curry and Klein were all named to the Elon Phoenix Classic all-tournament team with Scott earning MVP honors.
Scouting the Eagles
NCCU is 1-5 on the season after a 1-2 finish at the UNC Asheville Invitational last weekend. The Eagles claimed its first victory of the year with a 3-1 final against Alabama A&M with losses to UNCA and Stetson. Casey Curran has a team-high 43 kills on the season and is also averaging 2.26 kills per set followed by 35 total kills from Kelsey Murphy. Paige Phillips is averaging 6.84 assists/set, while Bree Simmons is recording 3.84 digs/set.
Elon vs. North Carolina Central
This year marks the eighth straight year the Phoenix and Eagles have played each other and the 26th overall meeting. Elon has won the last 14 matches between the two with the last four coming in the form of a sweep and holds a 20-5 series advantage.
Defensive Player of the Week…Again
For the second straight week, an Elon volleyball player was honored as the CAA Defensive Player of the Week. On Sept. 12 the CAA announced that Michelle Klein had earned the weekly honor for the first time in her career. Klein led the Phoenix defense to a 5-0 week last week after recording 28 total blocks to average 1.65 blocks per set as the team extended its winnings streak to six matches. The junior tallied no less than 1.00 blocks per set in all five matches last week, helping the team to 3.16 blocks/set, while also posting 30 kills to hit .295. She recorded five blocks against both Davidson (1.25/set) and Norfolk State (1.66/set) before six blocks against Wofford (1.2/set) to go along with 10 kills off 17 attempts and only one error to hit .529. Klein added three more blocks in one set against Delaware State (3.0/set) before recording a new career-high nine blocks against Gardner-Webb (2.25/set). The Lake Worth, Fla., native was named to the Elon Phoenix Classic all-tournament team after leading the defense to a 4-0 mark in the tournament.
As of Sept. 8, 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.
Head Coach Mary Tendler
Elon head coach Mary Tendler is in her 14th season with the Phoenix program. She enters Tuesday’s match with a 207-226 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.
Elon plays its final tournament of the season this weekend in the Bulldog Invitational in Charleston, S.C. On Friday, Sept. 16, the Phoenix plays Savannah State at 11:30 a.m. and host The Citadel at 7 p.m. The maroon and gold finishes the tournament on Saturday, Sept. 17, against Austin-Peay at 9 a.m. and Charleston Southern at 2:30 p.m.