ELON, N.C. – After opening conference play at home last weekend, the Elon volleyball team travels for its first road Colonial Athletic Association matches this weekend. The Phoenix (14-4, 1-1) first takes on Delaware (6-9, 0-2) on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. in Newark, Del., before facing Towson (13-2, 1-0) on Monday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. in Towson, Md.
A Look at the Phoenix
Elon bounced back from a loss to James Madison last Friday to claim a 3-0 win over William & Mary in its last match on Sunday in Alumni Gym for its first CAA victory of the season. The Phoenix was led by a match-high 16 kills from Kam Terry who finished with a double-double after 13 digs and also had two aces. Sydel Curry also tallied a double-double with a match-high 31 assists and 11 digs, while Sydney Busa recorded 12 kills and eight digs. Maddie Jaudon led all players with 14 digs, while the defense out-blocked the Tribe, 9-1, after five blocks each from Busa and Elizabeth Coil.
Scouting the Blue Hens
Delaware fell in a five-set heartbreaker in its last match on Thursday to UNCW after rallying from two sets down and now holds a 6-9 mark on the season and 0-2 record in conference play. Maria Bellinger recorded a career-high 21 kills along with 14 digs for a double-double in the match. Autumn Jenkins also tallied a double-double after 10 kills and 20 digs for her seventh double of the season. On defense, the Blue Hens have Alexa Swann ranking second in the CAA in blocks with 1.16 per set, while Taylor Hollingsworth is third in digs with 4.69/set.
Elon vs. Delaware
Elon and Delaware have only met four times previously with all matches coming in the last two years since the Phoenix joined the CAA. The Blue Hens have won each match for a 4-0 series advantage, including a close 3-2 victory in the last meeting on Oct. 31, 2015, in Newark, Del.
Scouting the Tigers
Towson is 13-2 on the season heading into a three-match conference weekend this weekend. The Tigers defeated Delaware, 3-1, in its last match to open CAA play and is currently on a three-match winning streak after a five-set loss at Mercer on Sept. 16. Towson leads the league in all of the top offensive categories – hitting percentage (.280), opponent hitting percentage (.109), assists (13.47) and kills (14.29), as well as service aces (1.75). The Tigers’ offense is led by Jessica Lewis who is averaging 4.25 kills per set and owns a .321 hitting percentage. The two-time CAA Offensive Player of the Week honoree this season is also averaging 2.89 digs per set and has seven double-doubles this season. The senior ranks 30th in the NCAA in total kills (234) and 34th in kills per set. Marrisa Wonders averages 7.16 assists per set, while Lindsay Flaherty leads the team in blocks with 1.04/set.
Elon vs. Towson
The Phoenix and the Tigers have met on the volleyball court six times with Towson claiming the advantage, 5-1, in the series. Elon won the first meeting in 1998, 3-2, before the Tigers took the victory in the next match in 2004. The other four matches have come in the past two years since Elon became a member of the CAA with Towson winning all four meetings.
The Best Since…
Elon’s 14-4 start to the season is the best mark since the team began the 2009 season 11-0 and then 15-2.
As of Sept. 27, the Phoenix is ranking high in several categories in the conference and in the nation. Nationally, Elon is seventh in total blocks, seventh in team kills, 13th in team digs and 10th in team assists, ranking first in the CAA in all those categories. Individually, Sydel Curry is second in the league with 10.02 assists/set. Kayla Agae is third in the conference in aces (0.31/set), while Kam Terry is 38th in the nation and second in the league in total kills (225) and third in the CAA in kills per set (3.52). Ally Karle ranks 25th in the NCAA and first in the CAA in blocks per set (72) and also leads the conference, ranking 17th nationally, with 1.50 blocks/set. In the CAA, Maddie Jaudon is fifth in digs per set (4.39) and Michelle Klein is fifth in hitting with a .325 percentage.
Head Coach Mary Tendler
Elon head coach Mary Tendler is in her 14th season with the Phoenix program. She enters this weekend with a 212-228 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.
The Phoenix remains on the road to make its annual trip to the northeast to play Northeastern and Hofstra next weekend. Elon faces the Huskies in Boston on Friday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m. before taking on the Pride in a 1 p.m. match on Sunday, Oct. 9, in Hempstead, N.Y.