ELON, N.C. – Set to play the first collegiate events inside Elon University’s new Schar Center, the Phoenix volleyball program announced its 2018 schedule Thursday, July 5.
“Our team is very excited about the challenges we will face in our 2018 schedule,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “The teams we see early on will test us in different ways with different styles of play, which will prepare us for our CAA opponents. We have a great mix of experienced players and talented newcomers that will join together in August and this group will be fun to watch with their athleticism, effort and enthusiasm they display on the court. We can’t wait for preseason to start as we venture into our first season inside our new home.”
The 31-match slate features 14 home matches inside Schar Center with the first competitive event inside the 5,100-seat stadium coming Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. against North Carolina A&T. The Aug. 28 match against the Aggies starts an action-packed week of volleyball to open Schar Center with the Phoenix Classic set to start three days later on Friday, Sept. 1, with Elon hosting Evansville, N.C. Central and Gardner-Webb throughout the two-day tournament.
Other non-conference opponents set to visit Schar Center include Kansas and High Point as part of the Tussle in the Triad on Friday, Sept. 14, and Saturday, Sept. 15, respectively. Elon’s third opponent in the Tussle in the Triad is UNCG with the Phoenix visiting the Spartans later in the day on Sept. 15 after hosting High Point at 10:30 a.m.
For the third-straight season, Elon will open its campaign with the Charlotte Invitational. This year, the Phoenix will meet Presbyterian in the season opener on Friday, Aug. 24, before taking on host Charlotte and USC Upstate to close the weekend. Elon’s other non-conference tournament in 2018 is the Wake Forest Invitational, where the Phoenix will battle Wake Forest, Akron and former Southern Conference rival Georgia Southern.
Before starting its fifth season of CAA competition, the Phoenix will also play three mid-week matches. In addition to the Schar Center opener against North Carolina A&T, Elon will travel to Duke on Wednesday, Sept. 12. After playing its first eight CAA matches, the Phoenix will close its non-conference schedule with a Wednesday, Oct. 17, visit to N.C. Central.
In conference play, Elon will start with four consecutive road matches from Sept. 21-30 at College of Charleston, UNCW, Hofstra and Northeastern before coming home for three matches in four days against Towson, James Madison and Delaware on Oct. 4, 6 and 7, respectively. After closing the first half of the CAA slate at William & Mary on Oct. 14, Elon will host UNCW on Oct. 19 to start the second half of conference play. The match starts a run in which Elon closes the 2018 season with five of its final eight matches at home with the last match of the season slated for Nov. 11 inside Schar Center against College of Charleston.
Elon is looking to qualify for its second-straight CAA Tournament in 2018. This year’s edition will be held in Charleston, S.C., from Nov. 15-18 with the top six teams in the conference fighting for the CAA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. A year ago, Elon battled James Madison through a five-set thriller in Harrisonburg, Va., before the Dukes eventually took the fifth set to advance. Though James Madison went on to win the tournament title, Elon was the only team to take a set off JMU in the tournament with the Dukes beating Towson and College of Charleston 3-0 in the semifinals and finals.
This year, Elon returns two student-athletes in Maddie Jaudon and Kam Terry looking to climb Elon’s all-time record books. Entering the 2018 season, Jaudon has 1,434 digs to place fourth in program history after recording 530 during her junior campaign in 2017. Terry is also just 13 kills away from 1,000 for her career after registering 439 kills throughout her 2017 season, finishing with the second-highest total on the team behind Sydney Busa’s 518. With 987 in her career, she is just 115 away from recording the 10th-most kills in program history.
Elon also returns the 2017 CAA’s Rookie of the Year in Kodi Garcia. The Tomball, Texas, native had 1,279 assists to post the second-most in a season in program history while tying Katie Hart’s 2003 mark for the most in Elon’s Division I era. Under the leadership of captains Jaudon and Nori Thomas, Elon returns 11 student-athletes from its 15-member team in 2017.