Using a weakened nine-player lineup thanks to a slew of injuries, the Elon University volleyball team concluded its weekend on Sept. 20 at the Deacon Classic in Winston-Salem, falling to Winthrop University 3-0 (20-25, 14-25, 19-25) and Wake Forest University 3-1 (19-25, 25-22, 14-25, 18-25).

Elon used eight players in each of its matches with four players — senior outside hitter Danielle Smith, juniors Megan Gravley and Ana Nicksic, and redshirt-freshman setter Sydel Curry — out to injuries.

Freshman outside hitter Sydney Busa carried Elon, tallying 25 kills total in the two matches.

Against Winthrop, Elon went down 5-1 early in the first set before cutting the margin to 7-5. The Eagles built its lead back to 22-17 before a kill from senior outside hitter Chanelle Smith had a kill and Busa recorded an ace to help cut the deficit to two. Winthrop went on to get the next three points.

Busa hammered down three straight kills to put Elon up 3-1 in the second set. Winthrop won six of the next eight points and extended that lead to 14-7 and never looked back.

Elon used a 4-0 run built on two Busa kills and a block from sophomore middle blocker Ally Karle and junior setter Chelsea Rafetto to go up 7-5 in the third. Winthrop rallied to tie it at 12-12 and was in control from there on.

Rafetto had 29 assists while C. Smith recorded 12 digs.

After dropping the first set against Wake Forest, Elon was able to win its first set of the weekend. The Phoenix was swept by Western Carolina University on Friday, Sept. 19.

Agae had a kill and sophomore libero Morgan Maner supplied an ace during a 3-0 Elon run that put the Phoenix up 16-13 and forced a Wake Forest timeout. Wake Forest rallied for a 20-19 lead, but Elon finished the set on a 6-2 run thanks to kills by C. Smith, Busa and Agae and a block from Rafetto and freshman middle blocker Michelle Klein.

Wake Forest took an 8-3 lead early in the third set and extended that to 16-6 before a 6-0 Elon run built off kills by Karle and senior middle blocker Kris Harris and blocks from Karle, Harris and Busa cut the margin. But the Demon Deacons won nine of the final 11 points in the set.

Elon kept the fourth set close, but wasn’t able to break into the Wake Forest rhythm. Agae finished with nine kills and 12 digs, while Rafetto had 26 assists and Maner tallied 13 digs. The Phoenix outblocked the Demon Deacons 13.5-to-6.0.

Elon is 4-10 and travels to North Carolina Central University on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

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