GREENSBORO - Before becoming North Carolina A&T's head volleyball coach, Hal Clifton spent six seasons as an assistant at Elon University. Tuesday night, the Phoenix team he played a part in building, came to Corbett Sports Center to play the team he is starting to construct.
The reunion for Clifton was an enjoyable one, but he is looking forward to the day where the style of play he learned from Elon head coach Mary Tendler will bring forth a better result. The established Phoenix defeated the rebuilding Aggies 3-0 (25-20, 14, 14).
"It was an emotional match for me since I helped recruit all of the players on Elon's team, and I worked with every one of them," said Clifton. "It was fun to see both teams compete. I tried to approach the match like it was any other match, but it was different."
Clifton's former team distributed its offense evenly. Seven Phoenix had at least four kills led by Carly Ledbetter and Allison Johnson who had five kills apiece.
Meanwhile, Clifton's Aggies were led by Jeana Daniels who continued to play well. Daniels finished with 12 kills and a .333 hitting percentage. In her last nine sets played, the sophomore out of Houston, has compiled 34 kills and a .274 hitting percentage.
Daniels' play in the first set had the Aggies competitive. Elon led by as many as nine in the first, but the Aggies cut the lead to 21-18 when Daniels took advantage of an errant Elon pass that sailed over the net by smacking the ball down to the floor.
Elon scored the next three points before a Phoenix service error and another Daniels kill put the Aggies down four at 24-20. Chanelle Smith ended the set with a kill. Daniels ended the first set with five kills and just one attack error.
"I thought we played well tonight," said Clifton. "We were able to match Elon's intensity in the first set and fought hard. We struggled a bit defensively in the second set, and we were not able get into the transition game."
The Phoenix made just one attack error in the third set to close out the Aggies. N.C. A&T returns to action Sunday afternoon when it faces Coppin State at Corbett Sports Center at 1.