HARRISONBURG, Va. – Elon University volleyball split the first two sets against defending CAA champion James Madison on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 29, but couldn’t hold off the Dukes in the final two in a 3-1 (25-21, 19-25, 25-20, 25-13) loss to JMU in Sinclair Gym.
“I really liked the way we started out the match,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “We were aggressive offensively and found ways to score points. We executed and competed against the defending CAA champions much better than we did when we met earlier in the season. We are looking forward to being back in Alumni Gym for our final home matches next weekend after four in a row on the road, and we’re excited to honor our two seniors.”
The Phoenix fell to 14-13 overall on the season and 3-9 in CAA play. James Madison now stands at 17-4 on the year and is 8-4 in conference play.
Elizabeth Coil powered Elon’s first three kills of the afternoon to help the Phoenix get out to a 4-2 lead in the early going. The two teams went back and forth until JMU went on a 3-0 run to go up 11-8, forcing Elon to take a timeout. After the Dukes extended the lead to 13-9, the Phoenix went on a 5-1 run to tie the match at 14-all. Though splitting the ensuing two points, the Dukes again used a 3-0 run to take an 18-15 lead to bring another Phoenix timeout. Though Elon cut the lead back to one at 18-17 out of the break, James Madison won five of the next six points to open up a five-point lead at 23-18 on the way to a 25-21 win.
After splitting the first 16 points of the second set, JMU again went on a 3-0 run to lead 11-8 to force an Elon timeout. On the other side of the break, Elon went on its longest run of the afternoon with an 8-0 streak to take a 16-11 lead. The Dukes did come back within two at 18-16, but Elon closed the set strong with a 7-3 run with back-to-back kills by Kam Terry to win it 25-19.
Following the break, JMU used a 4-0 run to start the third set that ultimately became a 7-2 advantage. Elon put together a 7-2 run of its own, though, to even things at 9-all. The Phoenix did get its lead up to as many as two at 14-12, but from there James Madison went on a 6-1 run to reclaim the lead at 18-15 and went on to win six of the last eight points to close the 25-20 set.
Like the third set, JMU opened on a 4-0 run and extended it to 7-2. This time, though, Elon wasn’t able to bounce back, going down by as many as 13 throughout the final set that the Dukes claimed 25-13.
Terry posted her 16th double-double of the season with 20 kills and 10 digs. Sydney Busa finished her afternoon with 12 kills and nine digs. Coil posted eight kills, finishing with a .429 (8-2-14) hitting percentage to go with two blocks. Kodi Garcia added 43 assists and 13 digs in the defeat for her ninth double-double and Maddie Jaudon chipped in a team-high 15 digs.
Kelly Vahos led the Dukes with 14 kills and 10 digs. She finished with a .400 (14-2-30) hitting percentage. Liv Crawley also posted 12 kills and finished with a stellar .458 (12-1-24) hitting percentage. Taylor Austin’s 23 digs were a match high and Sarah Martin added a team-best 25 assists.
-Busa now stands just four kills behind Caroline Lemke’s 1,279 from 2008-11. Lemke stands fifth in Elon history for most kills in a career.
-Busa is also now 25 digs away from matching Chanelle Smith’s 1,096 digs from 2011-14, which stands as the 10th-most in program history. If Busa reaches 1,096, she would join Debbie Hall as the only two players to sit among the Top 10 in both career kills and digs.
-With 15 digs, Jaudon is 41 away from tying M.K. Spear’s 1,368 from 2001-04 for the fifth-most in program history.
-Thanks to her 20 kills, Terry now stands at 473 this year and is 29 away from the 10th-most kills in a season in team history. Currently, Fiona MacPherson holds the No. 10 spot with 402 in 1996.
-Garcia’s 43 assists gives her 1,079 on the season, which is the ninth-most in a season in Elon history and one behind Ana Nicksic’s 1,080 in 2012 for the eighth-most.
The Phoenix will return home for the final two matches the team will play in Alumni Gym before transitioning to Schar Center next year. Elon will welcome Hofstra on Friday night, Nov. 3, for a 7:30 p.m. match before playing host to Northeastern on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. Before Sunday’s match, Elon will hold Senior Day festivities to honor Busa and Michelle Klein.