ELON, N.C. – The Elon volleyball (17-12, 3-9) team closes out the road portion of its regular season this weekend, traveling to take on College of Charleston (15-10, 8-5) and UNCW (14-10, 4-8). The Phoenix first plays in Charleston, S.C., against the Cougars on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 1 p.m. in TD Arena before its last regular-season road contest in Wilmington, N.C., on Monday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. in Hanover Hall.
A Look at the Phoenix
Elon started off the month on a strong note with 3-0 (25-20, 25-13, 25-17) win over North Carolina Central on Tuesday in Alumni Gym. Sydney Busa tallied her ninth double-double of the season for the Phoenix after a three-set career-high 19 kills (6.3/set) off 32 assists and only five errors to hit .438 and 10 digs. Ebony Scott recorded eight kills off 13 attempts with only one error to hit .538. Sydel Curry finished with 35 assists (11.6/set), while Maddie Jaudon and Kayla Agae led the defense with 12 digs each.
Scouting the Cougars
CofC fell in five in its last match on Thursday against James Madison for its third straight loss. The Cougars last win came against Towson on Oct. 23 as the team is now 15-10 overall and 8-5 in CAA play. Sophomore setter Allison Beckman is the leader of the Cougar offense and is second in the CAA with 10.19 assists per set, while Devon Rachel averages 2.81 kills per set and Maddie Hills posts 2.78 kills/set. McKala Rhodes is fifth in the league with 4.83 digs per set followed by Rachel with 3.27 digs/set to rank 10th in the conference. Junior Riana Brennan sits fourth in the conference in aces after 23 aces this season, averaging 0.25/set.
Elon vs. College of Charleston
While Elon has only been in the CAA for three seasons, the Phoenix and the Cougars have a long series history from their time in the Southern Conference. Saturday is the 27th all-time meeting with CofC holding a 24-2 advantage. The last time the maroon and gold claimed a victory was on Oct. 15, 2006, in Charleston, S.C.
Scouting the Seahawks
UNCW is 14-10 on the season and looking to break a four-match losing skid. The Seahawks were swept in its last match at Northeastern on Sunday in Boston. The Seahawks lead the conference in blocks and rank 25th nationally in blocks per set with 2.65. The team is also 26th in the NCAA and third in the CAA with 16.74 digs per set. Nicole Lott leads the team with 3.35 kills per set followed by Maddy Kline who averages 3.05 kills per set, ranking fourth and ninth in the conference, respectively. Sydney Alvis has tallied 391 total digs to post 4.30 digs/set, while all of UNCW’s top three blockers average over 1.0 blocks/set as Kendall Bender leads the Seahawks with 1.54 blocks per set.
Elon vs. UNCW
The series between Elon and UNCW dates back to 1976 with Monday marking the 33rd meeting. The Seahawks hold the slight edge in the series, 19-13, with victories in the last seven matches. Elon’s last win came in a tournament in Durham, N.C., on Aug. 28, 2009.
CAA Offensive Player of the Week
The Colonial Athletic Association announced on Oct. 31 that Sydel Curry had been named the Co-Offensive Player of the Week. This honor marks Curry’s first CAA weekly award and the third honor for a Phoenix player this season. Curry led the maroon and gold offense in its three matches last week, tallying 123 assists to average 11.1 assists per set. The junior also recorded 40 digs for 3.64 per set after recording double-doubles in all three matches. In the team’s sweep at William & Mary, she set a new three-set career high with 42 assists (14.0/set) and tallied 11 digs and four blocks. Against Towson, she recorded 37 assists, matched a career-high with 18 digs to lead the team and posted another career-high tying five blocks. Curry recorded her 13th double-double of the season after 44 assists and 11 digs against Delaware, while also recording three blocks. Curry also finished the week with nine kills and 12 total blocks to average 1.09 blocks per set. She currently leads the conference in assists with 10.33 assists per set.
It was announced on Nov. 3 that Sydney Busa was one of eight players to be named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 3 Volleyball Team and is now eligible for Academic All-America accolades. An outside hitter, Busa has tallied nine double-doubles on the season with the last coming on Tuesday against North Carolina Central after 19 kills and 10 digs in three sets. The junior has recorded 264 kills on the season to average 2.87 kills per set along with 2.7 digs per set. Earlier this season, she was named to the Bulldog Invitational All-Tournament team and posted double-digit kills in 14 straight matches. Busa has tallied new career highs in kills with 25 at Delaware and digs after 18 at Northeastern. Off the court, she has been honored on the President’s List and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll every semester eligible and was named to the 2015 CAA All-Academic Team. A native of Leesburg, Va., she holds a 3.95 GPA as a sport and event management major with minors in business administration, communications and Italian studies. This marks Busa’s first academic all-district selection and the first for a Phoenix volleyball player since 2010. Overall, Elon volleyball has had four players earn five all-district honors since 2004.
As of Nov. 2, the Phoenix is ranking high in several categories in the conference and in the nation. Nationally, Elon is 15th in total blocks, third in team kills, fifth in team digs and third in team assists, ranking first in the CAA in all four categories. Individually, Sydel Curry is first in the league with 10.33 assists/set. Kayla Agae is third in the conference in aces (0.34/set), while Kam Terry is fourth in the league in total kills (342) and fifth in kills per set (3.23). On defense, Ally Karle is first in blocks per set (1.31), also ranking 45th in the NCAA, and Maddie Jaudon is seventh in digs per set (4.25).
Head Coach Mary Tendler
Elon head coach Mary Tendler is in her 14th season with the Phoenix program. She enters this weekend’s matches with a 215-236 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 close out the regular season next weekend with two matches in Alumni Gym. Elon hosts Hofstra on Friday, Nov. 11, at 6 p.m. before its final scheduled match against Northeastern on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. The match on Sunday against the Huskies will mark Senior Day for the program’s four seniors – Kayla Agae, Ally Karle, Morgan Maner and Ebony Scott.