Spartans fall 3-2 at Elon
ELON, NC – UNC Greensboro was unable to hold off Elon as the Spartans dropped a 3-2 match to the Phoenix in Southern Conference action at Alumni Gym on Wednesday night. Set scores were 25-27, 25-19, 25-23, 17-25, 11-15.
Junior Branagan Fuller had a match-high 22 kills, while sophomore Kimiko Naito had 24 assists. Junior Catherine Hanners made a team-high 16 digs and served a match-high six aces.
Elon had four players with 10 or more kills. Caroline Lemke and Mandy Wilson each totaled 15 kills, while Sarah Schermerhorn and Traci Stewart had 11 and 10, respectively. Emily Regan put up a match-high 41 assists, while Kelley Blakewood had a match-high 18 digs.
UNCG and Elon remained close throughout the entire first set. Both teams each held a three-point margin, the largest of the set, at different times. The Spartans took an early 6-3 lead as a rotation error was called against the Phoenix. From that point, UNCG had to fend off an Elon offense that scored six set-tying points, including using a Spartan error to deadlock the set 15-15. The Spartans got back-to-back points off a kill by Nortz and an Elon miscue, but the Phoenix answered with a four-point run to take a 19-17 lead. Elon eventually built a three-point lead as a UNCG error made it 22-19. UNCG fought back and scored the four of the next five points, including a kill from Fuller that knotted the set up at 23-all. On the next point, Elon committed another rotation error, which gave UNCG the 24-23 advantage. The Phoenix scored the next two points to regain the lead, but a kill from senior Nortz made it 25-all. However, Elon came up with two consecutive blocks in order to win the first set.
With the exception of a tie at the very beginning, UNCG led throughout the entire second set. The Spartans had an early four-point run that included kills from Fuller and sophomore Billi Baker and consecutive aces by Hanners. UNCG eventually took a seven-point advantage as junior Lisa Fawell had a kill that made it 17-10. The Phoenix trimmed UNCG's lead down to five, but a kill by freshman Luciana Shafer and an Elon error pushed the Spartans' lead back to seven and make it a 19-12 set. The teams traded points until a kill by Carolina Lemke sparked a four-point run for the Phoenix. With UNCG up 21-18, the Spartans scored three of the set's final four points, including the set-winner by Fuller, to take the set and even the match at 1-1.
Both teams battled for control through the first part of the third set as neither team could build much of a lead. However, with UNCG up 12-10, Elon recorded seven of the next eight points to take a 17-13 lead. The Phoenix ultimately pushed their lead to five, but a Nortz kill was the first of three-straight UNCG points that made it 19-17. The teams exchanged points until an Elon service error was the first of five consecutive points for the Spartans. A kill by junior Emily Lindborg evened the set 22-22, while back-to-back Phoenix errors gave UNCG a 24-22 advantage. Elon pulled to within one off a UNCG service error, but Fuller notched her second set-winning kill of the night as the Spartans took a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the fourth set, UNCG had to contend with a consistent Phoenix offense as Elon hit .333 for the set, making 13 kills off 30 total attacks with three errors. With UNCG up 5-4, the Phoenix put together a five-point run that allowed Elon to take an 8-5 lead. After the teams traded points and with the score 11-9, Elon got the five of the next six points in order to make it a 16-10 set. The Spartans eventually cut the deficit down to three, using an Elon error to make it 17-14. However, the teams traded points once again before Elon got the final three points of the set it needed to win the set and force a deciding fifth set.
After Elon and UNCG swapped the first two points of the fifth set, the Phoenix used a five-point run to take a 7-1 advantage. Points were traded between the two teams again until Elon scored straight points off a UNCG error and a kill by Traci Stewart to take a 12-5 lead. However, UNCG began to claw its way back. A kill by sophomore Kayren Finney started a three-point run. After Stewart had another kill, the Spartans got consecutive points off an Elon service error and a Hanners ace to make it 13-10 in favor of the Phoenix. However, Elon got back-to-back kills from Lauren Copenhagen and Stewart in order to win the set and the match.
The Spartans are back in action at Fleming Gymnasium on Saturday when UNCG hosts The Citadel. Match time is set for 2 p.m.
Elon def. UNC Greensboro 27-25,19-25,23-25,25-17,15-11
UNCG (11-7, 3-2 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Branagan Fuller 22-1-0; Kaitlyn Nortz 10-0-3; Luciana Shafer 8-0-1; Clara Tse 7-2-0; Billi Baker 3-0-3; Emily Lindborg 2-0-1; Kayren Finney 1-0-3; Kimiko Naito 1-0-0; Alissa Beaudway 1-0-1; Lisa Fawell 1-2-0; Kayleigh Knerr 0-1-0; Catherine Hanners 0-6-0; Totals 56-12-7.0. (Assists) - Kimiko Naito 24; Lisa Fawell 18. (Dig leaders) - Catherine Hanners 16; Clara Tse 11
Elon (14-7, 3-2 SoCOon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Mandy Wilson 15-0-5; Caroline Lemke 15-0-1; Sarah Schermerhorn 11-0-6; Traci Stewart 10-0-8; Lauren Copenhagen 4-1-0; Emily Regan 4-0-0; Kelley Blakewood 1-3-0; Totals 60-4-11.0. (Assists) - Emily Regan 41. (Dig leaders) - Kelley Blakewood 18; Lauren Copenhagen 12; Traci Stewart 10
- UNCG -