The Elon University volleyball team returned to Schar Center today to avoid a sweep at home after losing 3-1 on Oct. 22 to the College of Charleston. The Phoenix defeated the Cougars 3-2 in an intense, back and forth five-set battle. 

Freshman outside hitter Brooke Doherty led the offensive charge today, recording a career high 22 kills. Doherty said she was extremely enthusiastic about her performance.

“It feels really great,” Doherty said. “Usually I don’t get that many kills, so it felt really nice to just get my career high.”

In order to prepare for the game today, head coach Mary Tendler said she studied up on video from the loss yesterday, looking to improve the team in any way possible against the Cougars.

“It was a slightly different lineup we had today, one that was hard to understand for our opponents. Hard to defend and catch up to,” Tendler said.

Prior to the start of the game, a moment of silence was held to honor Morgan’s Message, a nonprofit organization which looks to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and athletes. 

“Everyone thinks student athletes are so tough and strong, but they have the same issues a normal student has,” Tendler said. “I think it's really important to know you can get help, and you’re not weak if you ask for help.”

Doherty said she has struggled with mental health in the past, and enjoyed that the Phoenix were able to raise awareness about it today. 

“I think it's really important that we are aware,” Doherty said. “We shouldn’t be afraid to get help and help others. We all are in this together, which is something that means a lot to me personally.”

After the inspirational start, Doherty said she was ready to get out on the court. The Phoenix began their first set down 21-13, but momentum shifted following Sydney Daniels’ 7-0 scoring drive. In the final moments, the scores went back and forth, but ultimately Elon came out on top by a score of 31-29. 

“It started off slow in the beginning, but we picked it up at the end and took care of the job,” Doherty said.

The second was a similar battle, this time ending in a 24-26 loss for the Phoenix. In the third set, the Phoenix came out on top 25-20. Doherty tallied five kills in each. 

“Brooke has no fear when she plays,” Tendler said. “She goes out there and swings hard all the time. She was able to stay really, really consistent, and we definitely needed her today.”

On top of Doherty’s efforts, junior setter Ericka Link had another day for the record books, with 30 assists and 15 digs, posting career highs for both. 

“She was digging balls right off the start,” Tendler said. “She's gritty, she's a player that just keeps getting better and better. And she's so competitive, she doesn't want to let that ball hit the ground.”

But this was not enough for the Phoenix to close out the win and it lost 25-21 in the fourth set.

Beginning the fifth, scores were back and forth, but a 6-0 scoring run on Leah Daniel’s serve helped the Phoenix take control of the set and earn a 15-10 win. Tendler said she was pleased with the efforts from the group. 

“Today was a real testament to how much we play as a team,” Tendler said. “It was such a team effort with this win today, everybody did their part. I felt like some people had really big numbers, and some people didn't have as big numbers, but they were a huge part of the win also.”

The Phoenix will prepare for the upcoming two-game series at Hampton University on Oct. 29 to 30. 

“We got our hardest matches out of the way, so we’ve just got to stay persistent, get the wins that we need to win, and do our best,” Doherty said.