ELON, N.C. – Elon University volleyball opened the Demon Deacon/Phoenix Challenge with a 3-1 win over Furman Friday night, Sept. 13 at Schar Center.
“Furman played really well tonight,” said head coach Mary Tendler post match. “We struggled slowing down their offense, but made plays when we needed them to win sets. Even with a lot of young players out on the court, we held our composure at critical times. That is a great sign moving foward.”
The win marks two in a row for the Phoenix, who improves to 3-5 on the season.
Elon 3, Furman 1 | 28-26, 20-25, 27-25, 25-22
Neither team held the lead for long in the opening set. A 4-1 swing put Elon in control 17-14, but a Furman ace capped off a 3-0 response that tied up the score. Kills by Leah Daniel and Elizabeth Coil, as well as consecutive Furman attack errors, gave the maroon and gold a 22-18 advantage. The Paladins (0-7) fought back to even at 25-25 and had set point after an Elon attack error, but the next serve went into the net. The Phoenix capitalized on the error as Nori Thomas and Daniel scored the decisive points for the first match point.
After some early back-and-forth in Set Two, the visitors slowly pulled away at 20-14. Natalie Cummins sparked a 3-0 run for the Phoenix, but the guests earned a 25-20 decision to knot the match at a set apiece.
Set Three was also close until a Kellyn Trowse kill started a 5-1 run that put Elon ahead, 17-12. Furman wouldn’t go away though, closing the gap at 19-18. Later, the Paladins looked to take their first match lead as they wrestled away the lead at 24-23, but the set went to the maroon and gold 27-25 as Kodi Garcia assisted Daniel and Haylie Clark served up an ace for Elon’s second match point.
The Phoenix came out fast in the fourth set as a Thomas kill capped off a 7-2 start. Furman came back and threatened to knot the score multiple times, but Elon created some separation as an ace by Daniel ended a 6-1 run that made it 21-15. Facing match point at 24-17, the Paladins rallied for five straight points, forcing an Elon timeout, but Thomas put any hopes of a comeback to bed as she scored the assist from Garcia.
Three players reached double-digit kills: Daniel led the way with 16 and a .387 clip, Thomas was right on her heels with 15 and a .312 hitting percentage, and Trowse contributed 13 kills. Garcia totaled 30 assists, while Clark added 20 to go along with three service aces. Jordan Gower was in at libero and finished with 13 digs, Trowse grabbed seven digs, and Jenn Krzeminski continued her strong defensive play at the net with six blocks (two solo).
Elon is back in Schar Center this Sunday, Sept. 15 as the Phoenix takes on Wake Forest in the final match of the Demon Deacon/Phoenix Challenge. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m.