The Elon University volleyball team hosted Gardner-Webb University Friday Sept. 13, and neither side was able to run away with the victory throughout the first four sets.

Then the fifth set happened.

Screen shot 2013-09-14 at 4.06.44 PMElon rolled easily to a 15-2 set win, and toppled the Runnin’ Bulldogs 3-2 (25-22, 19-25, 25-23, 17-25, 15-2) in the first game of the Elon Phoenix Classic in Alumni Gym.

“I think we were determined to not lose another fifth set,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler, referring to the team snapping a three-game losing streak in five set matches. “Sometimes, luck is a factor. This was a very important win for us.”

Freshman outside hitter Kayla Agae served nine times during a 10-0 Phoenix run in the final set.

“Agae played well for us,” Tendler said. “She played well in the front and back row tonight. The thing about her is she plays calm, especially in the fifth set. She was very focused on her serving. She took her time.”

Agae came into the game in the second set with Elon trailing 22-15. After that, Elon outscored Gardner-Webb 61-53. Agae was there for every point.

“The fact that she can step up and do that for us is very impressive,” said senior right-side hitter Cali Estes. “It gives our team an advantage because we can feel good doing that night in and night out.”

Elon is now 2-0 at Alumni Gym, and the team isn’t expecting to stop there.

“Knock on wood, right?” Estes said. “We want to get better every game, but we also want to stay undefeated on our home floor.”

Sophomore outside hitter Megan Gravley led the team with 13 kills, including eight in the first two sets. Agae had seven kills and a .250 hitting percentage for the Phoenix. Estes added 9.5 points, and had two blocks and two kills in the fifth set. Sophomore setter Ana Nicksic had 33 assists in the win.

For Gardner-Webb, senior outside hitter Erin Anderson dominated the first two sets with 10 kills, but cooled off with two kills in the final three sets. Sophomore middle blocker Tyra Montour led all players with seven blocks. Sophomore defensive specialist Anna Pashkova contributed 20 digs and two assists.

Elon will match up against North Carolina Central University on Sept. 14 at 12:30 p.m., then East Carolina University at 7:00 p.m. in the final game of the Elon Phoenix Classic.


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