The Elon University volleyball team bested Radford University 3-2 Wednesday, Sept. 19, 3-2 (25-23, 17-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-8), despite letting five errors blow a 23-18 lead in the third set that could have changed the course of the entire match.
But the Phoenix recovered by grinding through the fourth set and cruising in the fifth, looking as if the third set didn’t even happen.
“The players responded really well,” said Elon coach Mary Tendler. “Usually, when you blow a big lead like that, it’s deflating. That’s what it felt like, but the fourth and fifth sets went our way and the players get the credit for that.”
“I can’t think of anything we did differently,” Nicksic said. “But when we play at home, there is an extra motivation there.”
Junior middle blocker Kris Harris made her presence known throughout the entire match, outperforming Radford’s sophomore middle blocker Megan Short. Harris led all players with 24 points and added three service aces and seven blocks.
“Kris played awesome,” Nicksic said. “She always lets me know when she’s there on the court, so that makes it easier for me to set her up for points.”
Tendler knows the impact Harris played in the victory.
“She gave us kills when we needed it most,” Tendler said.
Radford chipped away at Elon’s lead in the fourth set and trailed 24-21 after a kill by sophomore outside hitter Cheyanne James. Harris scored the winning point on an assist from Nicksic to help the Phoenix tie the game at 2-all.
Nicksic-to-Harris was the winning combination yet again in the final set, preventing the Highlanders from getting their revenge after last year’s defeat at the hands of Elon.
Nicksic had a game high 50 assists to go with 12 digs. Sophomore outside hitter Megan Gravley tallied 17 kills and three digs. Sophomore middle blocker Catherine Head contributed 11.5 points and three service aces.
For Radford, junior outside hitter Rachel Wiechecki scored 15 points and added 21 digs. Short led the team with four blocks to go along with seven kills. Freshman outside hitter Jordan Watson had 14 kills and posted a .235 hitting percentage.
Elon travels to Charlotte, N.C. for the 49er Invitational, and will first play Tennessee State University Friday, Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m. Also on tap this weekend for the Phoenix are two matches Saturday Sept. 21 against South Carolina State Universty and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.