On Friday and Saturday Nov. 8 and 9, the Elon University volleyball team played its final road games of the regular season and fell to Wofford College 3-1 (25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 25-20) and Furman University 3-1 (22-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-19). The Phoenix are now 7-7 in Southern Conference play, and fifth in the conference standings.
In the first set against the Terriers, Wofford tied the game at 8-all after a kill by senior middle blocker Wendy Burnett. Elon then went on a 5-0 run, forcing Wofford to call a timeout. Freshman middle blocker Ally Karle had one kill and one block during the run. The Terriers countered with their own 5-0 run, with their points coming off of four attack errors and a bad set by the Phoenix. Two consecutive kills by freshman outside hitter Elizabeth Tallman put Wofford up 20-18, a lead that they would maintain throughout the rest of the set.
The second set had Elon jump out to a 5-0 lead with the help of sophomore setter Ana Nicksic, who tallied two service aces during the hot start. An attack error by senior outside hitter Amanda Liguori put the Phoenix 16-9. The Terriers kept chipping away at the lead, reducing the deficit to 23-19 with a kill by Liguori. Karle prevented a Wofford comeback with a kill to end the set.
Elon had another strong start in the third set, leading 10-7 after a kill by Karle from senior right-side hitter Cali Estes. The Phoenix maintained its lead with two consecutive points from the Nicksic-to-Karle combination. A sudden 6-1 run capped off with a kill by junior right-side hitter Taylor Baird gave the Terriers a 22-21 edge. A ball-handling error by Estes ended the tightly-contested set.
The Terriers managed to get an early 9-6 lead with a kill by Liguori in the fourth set. Karle got a kill of her own to reduce the Phoenix deficit to 16-14. Liguori scored two straight points for Wofford to put them up 21-15, and a kill by Baird ended the set and the match.
Karle posted 16 kills and four blocks for Elon. Nicksic had 29 assists, 11 digs and three service aces. Sophomore outside hitter Megan Gravley tallied 11 kills.
For the Terriers, Baird led all players with 20 kills. Liguori had 15 of her own. Senior setter Bekah Dorsey put up 46 assists along with ten digs.
Against Furman, three consecutive blocks by senior middle blocker Christina Dorismond helped the Paladins get out to a 12-10 advantage in the first set. A service ace by Nicksic capped off a 4-0 Elon run, which gave the Phoenix an 18-16 lead. Freshman outside hitter Kayla Agae scored three straight during the run. Tied at 20-all, Karle carried Elon’s offense by scoring the team’s last five points, which gave them the set win.
Three straight Furman points got the Paladins off to a 10-7 lead in the second set. They extended their lead to 21-14 with a service ace by freshman outside hitter Annie Bierman. A kill by freshman middle blocker Ashton Gregory gave Furman a comfortable set win. Eight Paladin points came off of Elon attack or service errors.
Bierman scored two straight to give Furman a 12-7 third set lead. An attack error by Estes put the Paladins up 17-10, and Furman cruised to another easy set win. The last three points came off of blocks by freshman outside hitter Casey Wells and Gregory.
Elon got out to a quick 9-4 lead in the fourth set with a kill by Estes from Nicksic. A service ace by senior defensive specialist Elle Ross helped Furman tie the set at 12-all. After the play, a yellow card and a red card was issued to Elon head coach Mary Tendler. Junior outside hitter Chanelle Smith scored on an assist by Nicksic to reduce Elon’s deficit to 19-18. Furman then went on a 6-1 run, with three of the points being scored by junior outside hitter Andrea Fisher, to give the Paladins the set win.
Karle led Elon with 18 kills, five blocks and a .368 hitting percentage. Estes had 10 kills, 14 assists and two blocks. Junior right-side hitter Danielle Smith added five kills and two blocks.
For Furman, Fisher had 14 kills along with 13 digs. Gregory tallied 11 kills and four blocks. Ross led all players with 25 digs and added two assists.
Elon returns home to face the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7:00 p.m. in Alumni Gym.