ELON, N.C. – With its second season in the Schar Center just around the corner, the Elon University volleyball program and head coach Mary Tendler announced the 2019 schedule on Friday afternoon, July 12.
“Our matches prior to conference play will challenge us and be very instrumental as we prepare to play our CAA schedule,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “With a lot of depth in each position, we will be able to utilize these matches to see which combinations work well. Our returners have trained hard to prepare for the season with a focus on competing at a high level both as a team and individually each time they step on the court. It will be tough for our five newcomers to learn our system in a relatively short period of time, but they will adjust and push our returners for playing time and starting positions. We can’t wait to start practice in about four weeks!”
The 30-match slate features 12 home matches inside Schar Center. The 2019 campaign also features some familiar faces from Elon’s SoCon days with matches against Davidson, Furman, and UNCG. The Phoenix will compete in four tournaments and open the season at the Robert Morris Sheraton Invitational on Friday and Saturday, August 30-31. Elon begins the weekend with a 3 p.m. match against McNeese State before playing the host Colonials that evening at 7 p.m. Saturday sees the maroon and gold wrapping up the trip to Moon Township, Pa. with a 2:30 p.m. tilt versus Manhattan.
Elon then starts the month of September in Lynchburg, Va. for the Liberty Invitational on Sept. 6-7. The squad will meet its first of three ACC teams this year in a 6 p.m. Friday match with Virginia Tech. A 10 a.m. start to Saturday will pit the Phoenix against the host Lady Flames, followed by a 4 p.m. match with Davidson. It will be just the third time that Elon has played the Wildcats since the two were members of the Southern Conference.
The Phoenix welcomes North Carolina Central to Schar Center for its home-opener on Tuesday, Sept. 10. The teams will also play again later in the season on Wednesday, Oct. 16 in Durham, N.C. Elon then hosts Furman and Wake Forest as part of the Demon Deacon/Phoenix Challenge on Friday, Sept. 13 and 15 before playing Winthrop at home on Tuesday. Sept. 17. The team then rounds out tourney play at the Jefferson Cup, hosted by Virginia on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20-21. The first day has Elon and Lehigh scheduled for a 10 a.m. start, followed with a 3:30 p.m. contest against UNCG. The next day has another early start for the Phoenix at 10 a.m. versus the Cavaliers.
Hofstra and Northeastern come to town to open conference play on Sept. 27 and Sept. 29, respectively. After road trips to Charleston on Oct. 4 and UNCW on Oct. 6, the maroon and gold returns home to take on James Madison (Oct. 10), Delaware (Oct. 12), and Towson (Oct. 13). Elon then wraps up the first half of league play against William & Mary on Oct. 20. Down the stretch, the Phoenix travels to Hofstra and Northeastern on Oct. 24-26 and to W&M on Oct. 30. The last home matches of the season are slated for Nov. 1 and 3 against UNCW and Charleston. A three-match road swing then rounds out the regular season as Elon heads to JMU (Nov. 8), Delaware (Nov. 10), and Towson (Nov. 15).
This year’s CAA Conference Championship Tournament will be played at Hofstra’s David S. Mack Physical Education Center on Nov. 21-24, with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Returning for the Phoenix this year are captains Nori Thomas and Isabella Seman, as well as 2018 CAA All-Rookie selection Kellyn Trowse. The Tampa, Fla. native finished second on the team in scoring with 226.5 points and 197 kills. Kodi Garcia is also looking to continue her strong play after eclipsing 2,000 career assists last season. She is 403 assists away from tying for fifth on the program’s D1 record list and only 127 away from cracking the top 10 on Elon’s all-time career leaders list. The Tomball, Texas native recoded six double-doubles in 2018 and reached double-digit assists in all 28 matches she appeared in.
Elon will also look for contributions from the other two members of its sophomore class in Haylie Clark and Leah Daniel. Clark contributed 201 assists to go along with 12 aces and 63 digs. Daniel finished third on the team in kills with 185 and added 22 total blocks. Seman, along with newcomers Alex VanWestrienen and Jordan Gower, will help fill the defensive void left by Maddie Jaudon and Erin Kelly to graduation. Elon brings back 10 student-athletes from its 14-member team in 2018.