There wasn’t must adjustment needed for the Elon University volleyball team when practice began Aug. 9, and what was needed has been easy.

Elon lost just two players — right side / setter Cali Estes and libero Maggie Reichard — to graduation, and has added just two freshmen — outside hitter Sydney Busa and middle blocker Michelle Klein.

Busa and Klein have acclimated to the changes well.

“We don’t baby them coming in,” senior right side / outsider hitter Danielle Smith said. “It’s like go-go-go. They’ve asked a lot of questions. They’ve both been working extremely hard on and off the court, especially in the weight room.”

It’s a little bit different of a look for Elon, considering it’s swapping a right side / setter and a libero for an outside hitter and a middle blocker.

“Our dynamics of our team have really changed,” Elon coach Mary Tendler said. “(The freshmen) are just going for it, not holding back. They look relaxed out on the court playing. They don’t look like they have any fear. They’re not taking a back seat to any upperclassmen.”

Both add height to a team that needed some. Busa stands a 6-foot-1, and Klein is 6-foot-2.

Busa, from Leesburg, Va., and Heritage High School, recorded more than 1,000 kills in high school and led the DC-Metro area in kills in 2013. Klein, from Lake Worth, Fla., and Park Vista Community High School, was a four-year starter in high school and helped her school to four straight conference championships.

Tendler said no position is set, and that Busa and Klein are both competing for starting jobs.

“They have a lot of energy and willingness to learn,” senior middle blocker Kris Harris said. “They’re very coachable, and their personalities are very fit with our team.”

-- AYE, AYE, CAPTAIN: Senior outside hitter Chanelle Smith and junior outside hitter Megan Gravley were selected as Elon’s captains for the season.

The players vote on the captains before the coaching staff approves the choices.

Smith, who also plays in the back row, started 30 of the 33 games last year and recorded 268 digs and 146 kills. Gravley led the team with 341 kills and 2.82 kills per set.

“They’ve really taken over (the captain) position and made it a more active position than we’ve had in the past,” Tendler said. “The two of them complement each other well. I’m already seeing changes from previous years.”

MORE ELON VOLLEYBALL: Power-conference opponents highlight schedule

-- STAYING SHARP IN THE SUMMER: Danielle Smith said about half the team was at Elon for the summer. She stayed to take a summer class.

But just because the team wasn’t completely together didn’t mean they weren’t in touch.

“We were all texting each other every week making sure we were working out, conditioning,” Smith said. “We all came back ready to go. We didn’t have to start back from zero. We all kind of came in rocking and rolling.”

-- NO SCREAMS FOR ICE CREAM: If you see an Elon volleyball player at Smitty’s, or getting ice cream anywhere, it’s surely a special, rare occasion.

When talking about stuff the team does off the court, sophomore outside hitter Kayla Agae hinted that getting ice cream is somewhat frowned upon.

“You kind of don’t want too much of it,” Agae said. “You do a little Smitty’s drive-by — one person hops out of the car and you drive by. It works out.”


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