ELON, N.C. – Elon University volleyball embodied its nickname on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 29 as the team rallied from an 0-2 deficit and earned a 3-2 comeback victory over Northeastern inside Schar Center. The Phoenix improves to 7-8 overall and 2-0 in the CAA.
“We didn’t play particularly well today, especially from the start, but still managed to find a way to win, ” said head coach Mary Tendler after the victory. “The depth of our team really showed; everyone who subbed in contributed in a positive way. Leah [Daniel], once again, was practically unstoppable at the net and continues to make clutch plays for us.”
Through the first week of league play, Elon is tied atop the conference standings with Towson (12-2, 2-0). The loss drops the Huskies to 7-7 overall with a 1-1 mark in the CAA.
Elon 3, Northeastern 2 | 23-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-9
Elon dug itself a hole as the visitors jumped out to a 2-0 match lead. A late 5-0 push helped the Huskies secure a close opening set, 25-23. The guests then scored the first four points of set two and built a 12-4 advantage with a 7-2 swing. Mikayla Azcuecapped of a late 3-0 run to close the gap at 23-19, but it wasn’t enough as Northeastern earned the next two points.
The offense started to click for the maroon and gold in set three. Kodi Garcia served a pair of aces and assisted Leah Daniel on a pair of scores as Elon went up 15-8, but the Huskies stormed back with nine unanswered to wrestle away control and force a pair of Phoenix timeouts. Behind 22-19, Elon staved off the potential sweep with six straight points. Daniel found pay dirt to start off the run, then Elon benefited from a pair of Northeastern errors. Azcue followed with a kill, the Huskies gave away another free point, and Kellyn Trowse set up Elizabeth Coil to cap off the set.
In set four, the teams were even at 9-9 when a Coil kill started a 5-1 stretch by the Phoenix. Elon led the rest of the way, but not by much. Down by four, Northeastern was able to get to within a point on an Elon ball handling error, but Julia Crabtree scored to send the match to a decisive set.
Northeastern was up by a narrow 6-5 margin at the beginning of set five, but coughed up the lead with four consecutive errors. After Elon gave the Huskies back two points, Jenn Krzeminski successfully attacked and Daniel found another gear with four more kills. The offensive outburst capped off a 15-9 decision for the Phoenix.
Daniel eclipsed 20 kills for the fourth time this season as she scored 21-of-49 attacks (.327). The sophomore added one service ace, five digs, and three blocks (one solo). Thomas followed with nine kills, Garcia contributed 30 assists and a pair of aces, and Clark reached 13 assists. Gower led the defensive effort with 13 digs, Clark and Garcia followed with seven each, and Coil finished with four blocks.
-The win cuts Northeastern’s lead in the all-time series to 8-4.
-Today’s final is the second time in the series that Elon has defeated the Huskies in five sets. During the 2016 season, the Phoenix secured a 3-2 final on Nov. 12 in Alumni Gym.
-Daniel is now at 10 consecutive matches with double-digit kills.
-Garcia was one assist shy of tying her season high of 31.
-The Tomball, Texas native now owns 2,433 career assists and continues to climb the program’s career leaders list. Today’s effort moves her past Cheryl Denny (1994-97) for seventh place.
-Madi Genaway set season highs with six digs and a pair of assists.
-Elon led Northeastern in kills (56-54), but the Huskies held the edge in service aces (7-6), digs (65-57), blocks (11.0 – 7.0), and points (72.0 – 69.0). Both teams finished with 52 assists.
-The match featured 24 ties and 13 lead changes.
The Phoenix heads to Charleston, S.C. next Friday, Oct. 4 to play a 7 p.m. conference match against the College of Charleston Cougars (3-10, 0-1). The team then heads north to Wilmington, N.C. to take on UNCW on Sunday, Oct. 6. First serve against the Seahawks (10-5, 0-2) is scheduled for 1 p.m.