The Elon University volleyball team lost at Georgia Southern University 3-1 (25-20, 25-17, 25-27, 25-21) Friday Sept. 27 in its Southern Conference opener after junior outside hitter Jamie DeRatt had a game-high 26 points for the Eagles.

The Phoenix came back in the third set trailing 21-18, but wasn’t able to get ahead of the Eagles in any other set.

In the first set, Elon got off to a 5-2 start after a kill by sophomore Megan Gravley. Georgia Southern quickly adjusted itself, and a service error by freshman defensive specialist Morgan Maner gave them the 16-14 advantage. Elon wasn’t able to take back the lead after that, as a block by sophomore right-side hitter Katie Bange and junior middle blocker Kym Coley put the Eagles up 23-17.

Screen shot 2013-09-30 at 2.44.23 PMThe second set showed promise for the Phoenix once again. Junior outside hitter Chanelle Smith scored a service ace to put Elon up 6-5. Georgia Southern chipped away at the lead until they led 16-12 after a kill by Coley, which forced Elon to take a timeout. DeRatt scored the final two points for the Eagles with a kill and a block.

Elon jumped out to a 10-6 lead in the third set, but Georgia Southern went on a 6-0 run to go ahead by two. The Eagles led 21-18 after a kill by DeRatt. Two errors and a kill by junior middle blocker Kris Harris tied the game at 21. Freshman middle blocker Ally Karle came up big for the Phoenix by tallying a kill and a block on DeRatt in the set’s final two possessions.

Three early attack errors on the Phoenix gave Georgia Southern a 7-4 lead in the fourth set. Elon trailed 16-13 later on after a kill by sophomore outside hitter Megan Gravley. The Phoenix went on a 3-0 run to reduce the deficit to 23-21, but Georgia Southern scored the final two points to win their first conference game.

Freshman outside hitter Kayla Agae had a team-high 14 kills to go along with a .238 hitting percentage. Harris added 11 points and three blocks. Sophomore setter Ana Nicksic had 40 assists and 11 digs.

Sophomore middle blocker Crysten Curry had 11 kills and eight blocks for the Eagles. Senior outside hitter Nicole Jeschelnik added 11 points and 20 digs.

Elon travels to The Citadel and will play tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in its second conference match of the season.

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