ELON, N.C. – Senior outside hitter Sydney Busa distinguished herself as one of the best players in Elon University volleyball history Sunday afternoon, Oct. 15, by reaching 1,000 career digs in Elon’s 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-23) sweep of UNCW in Alumni Gym.
Now with 1,002 digs in her career, Busa is one of four players in Elon’s 46-year history of volleyball to have reached 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career. She joins the likes of Hall of Famer Debbie Hall (1992-95), Katie Ruoff (1996-99) and Fiona MacPherson (1995-98). The senior from Leesburg, Va., also has 1,211 kills to her name to date, which ranks as the sixth-most in program history.
“We’re proud of our team for how well it executed today and for closing out a tough third set,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “We were determined to win this one in three. What an amazing accomplishment for Sydney. She has worked so hard throughout her career and is very deserving to be included on a list with some of the top players in Elon volleyball history.”
Elon now stands at 14-9 overall and 3-5 in the CAA. The win snapped Elon’s three-match losing streak, its longest such streak of the season. UNCW fell to 7-13 overall and 1-7 in the CAA.
The Phoenix opened the match winning four of the first six points thanks to two kills by Busa, a kill by Kam Terry and an ace by Terry. UNCW kept the first set within striking distance and even tied it at 11-11, but the Phoenix then went on a 7-4 run to lead 18-15. After a Brynn Montgomery kill to cut the lead to two at 18-16, Elon won seven of the next nine points – including each of the last four – to clinch the 25-18 set victory.
Elon started the second set by doubling up the Seahawks 10-5 in the first 15 points. UNCW won each of the ensuing three points after Elon built the 10-5 lead, but the Seahawks couldn’t get closer than two points at 10-8 thanks to an 8-2 run that put Elon up 18-10. Following a Halle Hunt kill that ended Elon’s run, the Phoenix started a new streak by winning six of the next eight points to lead 24-13. Though UNCW held off three set points to force an Elon timeout, Elizabeth Coil put the 25-16 set away with a kill to go up 2-0.
Throughout the third set, the Phoenix tried to pull away on multiple occasions but UNCW didn’t go quietly in never going down by more than three after trailing by as many as 10 in the second set. Elon took three of the first four points to lead 3-1 in the early going, but UNCW came back to take its first lead of the match that wasn’t 1-0 with a 6-5 advantage after an ace by Madison Peters. While the set remained close throughout, the Phoenix took a 15-12 lead to get a little bit of breathing room until the Seahawks came back within one on eight different occasions down the stretch. In the end, Terry closed the win with a kill to give the Phoenix a 25-23 victory in the third.
Busa led all players with 18 kills in the match. She and Maddie Jaudon tied for a match high with 14 digs apiece. Terry also added a double-double in the match with 12 kills and 12 digs to go with two blocks. Courtney Carpenter finished with five kills, three digs and two blocks. She posted a team-best .400 hitting percentage with just one error in 10 attempts. Kodi Garcia finished the day with 43 assists to average 14.33 per set.
No Seahawk reached the double-digit kill mark with Peterson’s nine leading the way. Hunt added six kills and Maddy Kline finished with five to go with five digs and a block. Montgomery finished her afternoon with 25 assists and Katie McCullough led the Seahawks with nine digs.
-The match was Elon’s annual Pink Match. The Phoenix partnered with Alamance Regional Charitable Fund and the Pink Ribbon Foundation to raise awareness for breast cancer.
-Jaudon passed Cheryl Spivey for most digs in program history. She now has 1,270 in her nearly three full seasons with the Phoenix. Spivey had 1,264 from 1989-92. Jaudon now takes aim at M.K. Spear’s fifth-place mark of 1,368 from 2001-04.
-Busa needs just 94 digs over the course of Elon’s last eight matches of the regular season to reach Chanelle Smith’s 10th-place mark of 1,094 digs to crack the Top 10 of the category. If she reaches the Top 10, she would join Debbie Hill as the only two players in program history to currently rank in the Top 10 in both career kills and digs.
-UNCW led by one point on two occasions in the third set. The one-point advantages were the only two times all afternoon the Seahawks led the Phoenix.
-The win is Elon’s first over UNCW since 2009. The victory snaps an eight-match losing skid against the Seahawks.
Elon will start the second half of its CAA season on Friday, Oct. 20, with a road match at Towson. First serve is set for 7 p.m. Each of Elon’s next four matches will be played away from home. Following the trip to Towson, the Phoenix will travel to Delaware, William & Mary and James Madison before returning home to open November.