ELON, N.C. – Elon University volleyball completed a perfect Phoenix Classic sweep with victories over North Carolina Central and Gardner-Webb to claim the tournament title for the third consecutive season on Saturday, Sept. 1, inside Schar Center.
Elon’s day started with a 3-0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-15) shutout victory over North Carolina Central and finished with a 3-1 (26-24, 25-22, 23-25, 25-13) win over Gardner-Webb. The Phoenix improves to 7-0 overall on the season with the two wins. Elon has now won seven straight to open a season for the first time since 2009.
“We’re excited to have won the Phoenix Classic,” said head coach Mary Tendler. “This is our second tournament win in a row this season, so we can’t complain about that. The team is really coming together. I felt like our offense this weekend was a lot better than last weekend, so as a coach you really like to see that progression. We’re getting a lot more in rhythm and it doesn’t matter who we put on the court, everyone is contributing. I think that it will be tough for our opponents moving forward since we have so many players who can make positive plays for us.”
Kam Terry was named the Phoenix Classic MVP as she posted two double-doubles in three matches and combined for 43 kills and 32 digs during the tournament. Maddie Jaudon and Leah Daniel also collected All-Tournament Team accolades for the Phoenix.
Elon 3, NCCU 0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-15)
The Phoenix jumped out to a 10-4 lead, which forced NCCU to take a timeout. Elon would then go on another surge to take a 19-7 advantage. The teams traded points until 22-10, but Elon closed the set on a 3-0 run, which was capped off by Kodi Garcia’s kill to put the Phoenix in front 1-0.
In the second, N.C. Central kept the set close early on after cutting Elon’s lead to 11-8 on a maroon and gold attack error. However, the Phoenix would use a 9-1 run to take a 20-9 lead in the set and never looked back. Leah Daniel’s kill closed out the set and gave Elon a 2-0 lead heading into the five-minute intermission.
The final set started off close as Elon held a slim 9-7 advantage. Undaunted, the Phoenix made a 9-3 run to take an 18-10 lead, which was capped off by yet another kill from Daniel. NCCU would tack on five more points, but the Phoenix would hold a 7-5 advantage the remainder of the set to clinch the victory.
Terry led the Phoenix with 11 kills to go with seven digs. Leah Daniel had a strong match with 10 kills and one block. Elizabeth Coil also had six kills with two blocks and a .667 hitting percentage. Maddie Jaudon finished with a team-high 13 digs. Garcia had a match-high 22 assists and added four digs for the Phoenix.
Elon 3, Gardner-Webb 1 (26-24, 25-22, 23-25, 25-13)
Elon got off to a good start taking an early 8-4 lead in the set following Daniel’s kill, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs responded and took a 17-16 advantage. The Phoenix forced a Gardner-Webb timeout with a 3-0 run, but after a Runnin’ Bulldogs’ point, Elon pushed its lead to 22-19 after Terry’s ace. Gardner-Webb didn’t back down, fighting to tie the set at 24-24. Terry would put a stamp on the first set with a kill to give the Phoenix a 1-0 lead in the contest.
The second set got off to a good start for the Phoenix as a 8-3 Elon advantage extended to 9-3 following a Gardner-Webb timeout. As Garcia surpassed the 1,500-career assists mark, the Phoenix extended its lead to 17-12, forcing yet another Gardner-Webb timeout. The Runnin’ Bulldogs responded with a 6-1 run to tie the set at 18-18, but Elon answered with three unanswered points to take a 21-18 lead. Gardner-Webb would not go away, cutting Elon’s lead to 23-22, but Nori Thomas and Alexa Pavlick’s block helped lead the Phoenix to a 25-22 victory in the second set to help the maroon and gold take a two-set lead.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs battled through a tightly contest first half of the third set to take a 15-13 lead, forcing an Elon timeout. After Gardner-Webb took a 24-20 lead, the Phoenix attempted to battle back with two straight points, but the visitors would score the deciding point and cut Elon’s lead to 2-1 in the match.
Elon surged out to a 16-4 lead to start the fourth set, which was led by four Daniel kills and two service aces from Haylie Clark. The momentum from the start of the set would carry the Phoenix to a 25-13 fourth set win to clinch the Phoenix Classic title.
Kam Terry finished with her second double-double of the tournament with 15 kills and 14 digs. Leah Danieladded a team-best 18 kills and Garcia posted a game-high 42 assists to eclipse the 1,500 career-assists mark in her career.
– Elon wins its annual Phoenix Classic for the third consecutive season in 2018 with a perfect 3-0 mark.
– Kodi Garcia surpassed the 1,500 career assists mark during the match against Gardner-Webb. She needed 78 before the tournament to reach the mark. Garcia finished with 102 assists during the Phoenix Classic.
– The Phoenix is 7-0 to start a season for the first time since Elon started 10-0 during the 2009 campaign.
Kam Terry, Elon
Maddie Jaudon, Elon
Leah Daniel, Elon
Mildrelis Rodriguez, Evansville
Rocio Fortuny, Evansville
Kylee Garrison, Gardner-Webb
Celene Morris, North Carolina Central
Tournament MVP: Kam Terry, Elon
Elon will return to the court on Friday night, Sept. 7, when the Phoenix visits Wake Forest at 5 p.m. The match is the first of three for the Phoenix in the Wake Forest Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C. Elon will complete the weekend on Saturday, Sept. 8, facing Akron at 1:30 p.m., followed by Georgia Southern at 5 p.m.