ELON, N.C. – Elon University volleyball opened Colonial Athletic Association play Friday night, Sept. 22, with a 3-1 (25-18, 25-20, 18-25, 25-23) loss to a tough undefeated Towson team in Alumni Gym.
“We had a slow start, but we picked up our level of play in the second set and continued it throughout the rest of the match,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “I was very happy with our offensive effort and we touched a lot of balls defensively. Towson is a very talented team and did a better job closing out that fourth set.”
With the loss, Elon dropped to 10-5 on the season and 0-1 in CAA play. Towson improved to 15-0 and 1-0 in conference play. The Tigers finished second in the CAA in 2016 and were picked to finish fourth in the conference this year.
Battling tooth and nail, the Phoenix opened the match winning four of the first six points and led 6-4 before Towson went on a 6-1 run to lead 10-7. The Phoenix responded well and kept the set within two points before, but Tigers clamped down in the closing stages and finished the set on a 9-3 run to win 25-18.
Following a tough start to the second set that forced an Elon timeout after the Tigers won the first four points, the Phoenix pulled its way back to within two at 15-13 after back-to-back kills by Julia Crabtree and Sydney Busa. Towson answered with a 6-2 run to jump back up by six at 21-15 and though Elon again battled back with 5-1 run to trail by just two at 22-20, the Tigers closed the second set with three consecutive points to take a 2-0 lead with the 25-20 win.
Out of the locker room for the third set, Elon put its best comeback effort on display in jumping out to a 10-4 lead to force a Towson timeout. On the other side of the break, Towson was not able to come within four points on multiple occasions, but Elon extended the lead to as many as 10 three times to win the set 25-18.
Looking to force a decisive fifth set, neither side led by more than Elon’s three at multiple points throughout the fourth set. The Phoenix held 10-7 and 11-8 leads before the Tigers brought the set back to a tie down the stretch. Elon was able to pull out to a 20-18 lead in the late stages of the set, but Towson answered with three consecutive points to lead by one and force an Elon timeout. Elon did win each of the ensuing two points out of the break to jump back up by one at 22-21, but Towson closed the match winning four of the final five points to win 25-23.
Busa’s match-high 22 kills paced the Phoenix. She recorded her 10th double-double of the season with 13 digs on the night. Kam Terry also recorded her ninth double-double with 13 kills and 16 digs. Courtney Carpenter added 10 kills and finished with a .421 hitting percentage while Kodi Garcia finished with 49 assists (12.25 per set) and 11 digs for her sixth double-double of her freshman campaign. Maddie Jaudon had 20 digs and Erin Kelly added 10 digs off the bench.
Jocelyn Kuilan paced Towson with 15 kills and six digs. She had a .387 hitting percentage in the match. Carola Biver also added 12 kills, five digs, three assists and an ace while Marrisa Wonders posted a 29-assist, 10-dig double-double and Peyton Moyles finished with a 14-assist, 11-dig double-double.
-Busa leads the CAA thus far with 10 double-doubles on the season. Terry is close behind in a tie for second with her nine on the year.
-With 1,081 kills in her career, Busa is now 19 away from a tie for 10th-most with Lisa Bumgarner in program history and just 21 away from a ninth-place tie with Britany Westphal.
– Jaudon pushed her career dig total to 1,155, putting her 32 behind Katie Forman for eighth-most in program history. Jaudon is currently alone in ninth place after cracking the Top 10 last weekend.
The Phoenix will be back in action Saturday night, Sept. 23, when it welcomes Delaware to Alumni Gym for a 7 p.m. match. The Blue Hens opened CAA play on Thursday night, Sept. 21, with a five-set victory over William & Mary. Before the match, Elon will honor Sydel Curry for her contributions to the program over the course of her career from 2013-16 with the Phoenix.