ELON, N.C. – Down two sets heading to the locker room, Elon University volleyball battled for a thrilling five-set victory over Navy in Alumni Gym on Friday, Sept. 15, defeating the Midshipmen 20-25, 15-25, 27-25, 25-23, 15-9 in the first match of the Tussle in the Triad.
“I’m extremely proud of our team tonight,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “We were pushed by a very good Navy team, but we never gave up. We pushed back and our confidence level increased as the match went along. We look forward to another big challenge tomorrow morning in Alumni Gym against UNCG.”
Elon improved to 9-3 on the season with the come-from-behind victory and improved its winning streak to six matches in a row dating back to Sept. 2. Navy dropped just its second match of the season, falling to 9-2 on the year.
Maddie Jaudon posted a season-high 32 digs, which ties for fourth-most in a match in Elon’s Division I history with M.K. Spear’s 32 against Davidson on Oct. 26, 2003, and Kelley Blakewood’s 32 against Chattanooga on Nov. 11, 2007. Jaudon’s 32 digs fell two short of her career best of 34, which was set last year on the road in a five-set match at Delaware on Oct. 1.
Navy doubled Elon up in the opening 15 points of the match, forcing the Phoenix to burn its first timeout early on. Elon clawed back to within one at 14-13, but Navy answered Elon’s surge with a 7-1 run to go up 21-14. Though Elon won six of the last 10 points of the set, Navy’s run was enough to put the set out of reach.
The Midshipmen squashed any momentum Elon had entering the second set in the early going by opening on a 5-0 run. The Phoenix used both of its timeouts in the opening 18 points, but couldn’t fight its way back in with Navy taking the set 25-15.
Coming out of the locker room with just seconds left on the clock before the start of the third set, Elon dropped the first two points before going on a 6-1 run take a 6-3 lead. Navy responded to Elon’s run with one of its own, going on a 7-1 run to take a 10-7 lead. After Elon won three consecutive points to tie the set at 10-all, the two teams traded points until the Mids took a 23-20 lead, forcing a Phoenix timeout. But after the stoppage, Elon won seven of the next nine points and saved two set points before winning 27-25 thanks to back-to-back kills by Sydney Busa and Alexa Pavlick.
The fourth set was back and forth most of the way with Elon gaining the largest lead of the frame at four in the early going, but once Elon built its four-point lead at 9-5 the Midshipmen earned four consecutive points to tie the set again. From there, the two teams went back and forth until the Phoenix took a three-point lead at 22-19 to bring a Navy timeout. The Mids did cut Elon’s lead down to one at 23-22 and again at 24-23, but a kill from Busa ended the set at 25-23 to force a decisive fifth.
In the final set, the two sides battled to 4-4 before Elon went on a 5-0 run to take command at 9-4. Navy never came within more than four down the stretch, as Elon finished the match winning four of the last six points to win the set 15-9.
Busa led Elon with 18 kills, 23 digs and six blocks and Kam Terry added 14 kills with 10 digs. Courtney Carpenter had a stellar night with eight blocks. She also added 10 kills, three digs, two assists and an ace. Madi Genaway shattered her previous season best with 10 kills on the night. She also had two digs and a block. Elon had 12 blocks in the match, the most in any of its 12 matches to date this year. Kodi Garcia also added 47 assists and 11 digs for her fifth double-double. Thirty-two of her assists – 10.7 per set – came in the final three sets after posting just 15 (7.5 per set) over the course of the first two sets. In all, Elon had a .044 (22-18-90) hitting percentage in the first two sets before posting a .200 (40-17-115) hitting percentage in the final three sets.
Maggie Phillips finished with 14 kills, 10 digs and four blocks to lead the Mids. Tara Dotzauer also added 12 kills, six digs and five blocks while Katie Patrick had 11 kills and four blocks. Entering the match, Navy had a .274 hitting percentage before posting a .162 hitting percentage Friday night. The Mids had a solid first two sets with a .218 hitting percentage before falling apart in the final three sets with a .124 hitting percentage.
Elon will close tournament play on Saturday, Sept. 16, with an 11 a.m. match in Alumni Gym against UNCG and a 7 p.m. match against High Point at the Millis Center.