The Elon University volleyball team was on the brink of snapping a nine-game losing streak and winning its first Colonial Athletic Association match, but the Northeastern University Huskies came back alive in the fifth set to fend off the upstart Phoenix 3-2 (26-24, 25-18, 22-25, 17-25, 15-12) on Friday, Oct. 24 in Boston.
Northeastern took the first two sets before Elon rallied to win both the third and fourth to force a decisive fifth set. The fifth set was tight all the way through, but the Huskies won five of the final seven points after a 10-10 tie to seal the match.
Freshman outside hitter Sydney Busa was outstanding for Elon, recorded a career-high 20 kills while hitting .232 (seven errors, 56 attempts). Sophomore outside hitter Kayla Agae had 13 kills and 18 digs, while junior setter Ana Nicksic had 35 assists and 12 digs. Sophomore libero Morgan Maner and senior outside hitter Chanelle Smith had 13 and 14 digs, respectively.
Elon outblocked Northeastern 12-8. The Phoenix also had a better attack percentage (.156 — 58 kills, 30 errors, 180 attempts) than the Huskies (.103 — 52 kills, 34 assists, 175 attempts). But, Elon committed 17 service errors.
By the time the first set was tied at 10-10, there had already been seven ties. Northeastern went up 21-16, but back-to-back Busa kills helped Elon come within one at 22-21. The Phoenix tied it up at 24-24, but the Huskies grabbed the next two points.
Northeastern led by as much as eight in the second set.
The tides turned in the third set, as Elon went up 5-1 early. The Huskies cut the deficit to one a few times, but a couple kills from Smith down the stretch helped the Phoenix hold on.
In the fourth set, Elon used a 7-1 run with a kill and an ace by Busa and two blocks by junior middle blocker Catherine Head to take a 13-5 lead. Busa had a couple more kills late in the set to keep the momentum with Elon.
The Phoenix falls to 5-20 overall and 0-9 in the CAA. Elon will play at Hofstra University on Sunday, Oct. 26.