This past weekend, the Elon University women’s volleyball team hosted the Elon Phoenix Classic tournament, which included Gardner-Webb University, North Carolina Central University and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.

Elon started off strong in the tournament, winning its first two matches in three games against Gardner-Webb and NC Central.

But in the final match of the tournament, the Phoenix faced the powerhouse the Alabama Crimson Tide.

With the advantage of being able to watch Alabama play, head coach Mary Tendler said the team knew what Alabama was going to do. But Elon had trouble defending against Alabama’s attacks.

“Their outside hitters did really well, and we tried everything but it just didn’t work,” Tendler said. “I thought we had some really good slide attacks, but we just couldn’t do them often enough.”

The Phoenix fell to the Crimson Tide in three games.

Elon’s blocking started off slow in the match, which gave Alabama a lot of court to work with when they were hitting.

Senior outside hitter Allison Johnson said eliminating such errors has been a goal of the team so far.

“We have all been working on eliminating our errors because our errors are something we can’t defend against,” she said. “I think that our front row and back row were communicating to make sure everyone was lined up ok, but it started off maybe us not lining up the way we needed to be. But as the game progressed it got better.”

Tendler agreed that their adjustment on blocking was a little slow, but she said Elon wants to force teams to hit cross-court because senior libero Ali Deatsch is there to dig the ball.

Still, Tendler said the team is progressing and will continue to improve after each game.

“We are better then we were last weekend,” she said. “I’m really proud of the girls working hard this week and in practice. We have one practice before we play Radford and two practices before we go into the Duke (Challenge) tournament. So we are going to identify what we need to work on, and we will be a better team next week.”

[box]Elon faces Radford University on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. at Radford. [/box]


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