Volleyball: Tribe burnt by Phoenix, 3-0

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JAMIE HOLT / THE FLAT HAT

Wednesday, Oct. 30, William and Mary (6-16, 2-9 CAA) hosted Elon (12-13, 6-5 CAA) at Kaplan Arena. While individually, the Tribe played well, it ultimately got swept 3-0 by the Phoenix. As a team, sloppy finishes and attack errors extended the Tribe’s losing streak to four.

The first set started off with a quick pace. The Tribe and the Phoenix traded kills, neither going on a true scoring run until the Phoenix’s second timeout, after which the Phoenix scored four points in a row to win the set 25-22. Support from underclassmen made this set as close as it was. Freshman libero Anna Porter kept the Tribe competitive by digging the ball four times, turning the Phoenix’s would-be kills into points for the Tribe. Freshman middle blocker Kaitlyn Ferguson recorded two blocks and two kills throughout the set. Sophomore outside hitter Claire Farrell laid down three kills, the second most on the team.

Sophomore opposite hitter Lauren Merrill was just 10 kills and 25 blocks away from 200 in each category at the beginning of the game. She is now incrementally closer to the milestone after recording four kills and one block throughout the match. She recorded an impressive 14 digs overall, one under her season high of 15.

The Phoenix ran away with the score in the second set. Instead of trading points, the teams traded runs. The Phoenix began a 5-1 run, then took four more points to lead the set 9-2. The scoring evened out for a moment as the Tribe caught up with a 6-0 run. After an 8-0 Elon run, the Phoenix stole the set 25-13.

It was a messy set. Twice, the Tribe watched the ball dropped between standing players, none making a move to dig it. Four times in a row, the ball fell where there was no player guarding.

The third set started with Phoenix domination, but the Tribe fought back. After starting down 6-0, Merrill delivered a critical kill to start the Tribe’s comeback. The Tribe rushed to catch up, but it was too little, too late. Junior middle blocker Julia Brown notched four of her 10 kills in this set, but the Tribe ended up losing 25-23.

Ferguson was a stand-out player in the third set. She successfully blocked a Phoenix kill attempt to continue the Tribe six-point run. Her contribution to the Tribe’s defense did not stop the Phoenix momentum, though. Phoenix outside hitter Leah Daniel recorded 11 kills throughout the course of the match, three of which came during the third set.

Other notable individual performances included senior setter Autumn Brenner, who had 25 kill assists throughout the game, reaching the 600-assist plateau for the season and 2,400 all-time. Only one other player on the team recorded an assist through the whole match: Brown.

Saturday, Nov. 1, the Tribe will welcome Charleston to Kaplan Arena. Last time the Tribe played the Cougars this season, it lost 3-0. The Tribe will be looking to end its four-game losing streak and pick up its third Colonial Athletic Association win.