The Phoenix fell behind 15-11 in the opening set but won 14 of the final 19 points to win it, 25-20. Elon kept its momentum going in the second set, racing out to a 19-10 lead en route to a 25-22 victory.
Elon again got off to a quick start in the third set, but James Madison clawed its way back and took the lead late. Down 24-23, junior middle blocker Jenn Krzeminski kept the Phoenix alive by saving a set point with a kill. Elon won three of the final four points to close out the match in three sets.
“We knew it was going to be a tough third set,” Head Coach Mary Tendler said. “They did a great job of switching things up but we still battled. They picked up their game on the other side and it was good to make plays at the end.”
Senior outside hitter Leah Daniel paced the Phoenix in kills with 16, and the team had a balanced offensive attack throughout the game. Senior outside hitter Kellyn Trowse had nine kills, as did freshman outside hitter Sydney Love.
Trowse, who also compiled eight digs and three blocks, said it seemed like the Dukes built their game plan around stopping Daniel and Love, which gave other players more opportunities to attack offensively.
“We were able to spread our offense a little bit more knowing they were camping out on our outside hitters,” Trowse said. “We were also able to execute with good passing from our back row.”
Tendler said the Phoenix passed and received serves much better than in Saturday’s match, which she was crucial for the team’s victory.
“It was a good team win,” Tendler said. “We had so many people contribute in so many different ways.”
After yesterday’s close loss, Tendler said she was pleased with how the team responded and battled hard from the beginning to end.
“The motivation was there. Obviously, we didn’t want to get swept on our home court,” Tendler said. “We felt good that we would be physically and mentally ready to go with the quick turnaround.”
Trowse said coming from behind in the final set to close out the match could give the Phoenix confidence as the team continues in conference play.
“That third set gave us a lot of momentum and I think that’s going to help us going forward into next weekend,” Trowse said.
With the victory, Elon maintains its spot atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings, ahead of second place James Madison. Elon is now halfway through its conference schedule and will host two matches against UNC Wilmington next weekend.
Trowse said she expects upcoming opponents to play the Phoenix very tough given the team’s position atop the CAA standings.
“Every game matters. Every point. Every set matters,” Trowse said. “Every team that comes and plays us at our home is going to come out with fire because we’ve got a target on our backs. Now they see us at the top of the conference and they know that we’re aggressive and want to win. ”