ELON, N.C. – The Elon volleyball team begins the second half of its conference season this weekend when the Phoenix (15-9, 2-6) travels to Virginia to face James Madison (12-10, 4-5) and William & Mary (8-13, 2-6). The maroon and gold plays in Harrisonburg, Va., on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 4 p.m., before a match against the Tribe on Monday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. in Williamsburg, Va.
A Look at the Phoenix
Elon dropped its two matches over the weekend against UNCW and College of Charleston. The Phoenix fell in a 3-2 heartbreaker to the Seahawks in its fourth five-setter in its last five matches. Sydney Busa and Sydel Curry led the maroon and gold with double-doubles in both matches. Busa finished the weekend with 34 kills, averaging 3.78/set, and 29 digs (3.22/set), while Curry averaged 10.8 assists/set and 3.33 digs/set. On defense, Ally Karle and Michelle Klein each posted nine total blocks for 1.0 blocks/set.
Scouting the Dukes
JMU recorded a 3-1 win over league-leader Northeastern in its last match on Thursday to improve to 12-10 on the season and 4-5 in conference play. The victory snapped a three-match losing skid for the Dukes after its last win on Oct. 7 against UNCW. JMU is second in the league in blocks (2.37/set) and third in hitting percentage (.228). Janey Goodman leads the team with 346 kills this season and averages 4.49 kills per set to also lead the conference and rank 21st in the NCAA. On defense, Taylor Austin is averaging 5.45 digs/set to rank first in the league and second in the NCAA. Taylor Gail has posted 89 total blocks on the season for 1.22 blocks/set and is first in the CAA.
Elon vs. James Madison
Outside of conference matches the last two seasons, the Phoenix and the Dukes have only met one other time. JMU owns a 6-0 advantage in the series after claiming a 3-1 win on Sept. 23 in Alumni Gym earlier this season.
Scouting the Tribe
William & Mary is coming off a pair of 3-0 losses at Delaware and Towson last weekend after wins against CofC and UNCW the previous weekend. The Tribe is now 8-13 on the season and 2-6 in conference play. Katie Primatic leads the Tribe attack with a .264 hitting percentage this year, while Casey Foote and Sydney Biniak lead the team in kills with 245 (3.06/set) and 198 (3.05/set), respectively, to rank seventh and eighth in the CAA. Autumn Brenner is averaging 9.63 assists per set, good for third in the conference, and also ranks fourth with 22 aces (0.29/set). On defense, Sara Zumbach is fifth in the league with 4.47 digs/set.
Elon vs. William & Mary
The series between Elon and William & Mary, which the Phoenix leads, 5-4, dates back to 1974. Six of the overall nine meetings have been played in the last eight years with the Phoenix winning the last four straight. The maroon and gold swept the Tribe in the last match on Sept. 25 in Alumni Gym as Kam Terry led the team with a double-double after 16 kills and 13 digs.
As of Oct. 17, the Phoenix is ranking high in several categories in the conference and in the nation. Nationally, Elon is ninth in total blocks, third in team kills and fourth in team digs and team assists, ranking first or second in the CAA in all four categories. Individually, Sydel Curry is second in the league with 10.16 assists/set. Kayla Agae is second in the conference in aces (0.35/set), while Kam Terry is third in the league in total kills (293) and fourth in kills per set (3.22). In the CAA, Maddie Jaudon is seventh in digs per set (4.43) and Michelle Klein is 10th in hitting with a .281 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 213-233 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 returns home to Alumni Gym to host Towson and Delaware next weekend. After a match against the Tigers on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m., Elon plays in its annual Pink Match on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m. against the Blue Hens.