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Volleyball Wins Five-Set Thriller over FAU

Sideline Media

NORFOLK, Va. – The Old Dominion volleyball team gutted out a five-set win over Florida Atlantic (25-21, 26-24, 25-22, 25-19, 15-12) at the ODU Volleyball Center on Sunday afternoon. ODU improved to 5-4 overall and 3-2 in league play.
"The win probably happened yesterday or the day before. We learned some lessons from Virginia," said ODU head coach Fred Chao. "That's what this team does really well, they learn from each time they go out and we made some adjustments that freed Alessia (Sgherza) up to do what she's really good at doing. The course of this match showed that everybody else had a part to play. Everybody contributed, and while everyone else is contributing, that then allows Alessia to do more things."
The Monarchs led early in the first set, 4-0, but the Owls (1-5, 0-3 C-USA) took advantage of a trio of ODU errors to cut the lead to 5-3. The two teams went back and forth but ODU capitalized off three-straight FAU errors to lead the first set, 15-12, forcing the Owls to take a timeout. FAU used a kill and two ODU errors to even up the match coming out of the break. The two teams traded points again, however, the Owls ignited a 9-6 scoring run to pull ahead and win the first set, 25-21.
The two teams went back-and-forth through most of set two, until the Monarchs used back-to-back kills from Madeline Rudd and Alessia Sgherza to secure the 26-24 win in the second set and tied up the match, 1-1.
The third set went in favor of the Owls, 25-22. FAU was first to strike, opening to a 5-1 lead. ODU served up a 3-0 run to close the deficit to just one. ODU stayed in the game to tie up the set, 9-9. ODU took its first lead of the set, 10-9, with an FAU attack error, but ODU gave it right back following a service error. The Monarchs moved ahead in the set with a 7-4 run but FAU quickly evened the set again at 20, forcing Chao to take a timeout. FAU held the Monarchs to just two more points the rest of the set, winning 25-22.
The Monarchs grabbed control of the fourth set, sparking an 8-1 start to the frame. The Monarchs led by as many as eight in the set, but FAU delivered a 4-1 run to force an ODU timeout and cut the ODU lead to five. ODU hammered down three kills to close out the set and win (25-19) to force a fifth set.
ODU's momentum built in the decisive fifth set, controlling the match, 3-1. FAU fought back with a kill and a service ace to tie up the set, 3-3. ODU and FAU continued to trade points, but ODU jumped ahead with a Hailey Duncan kill and a pair of FAU attack errors to lead, 12-8. The Monarchs solidified its Sunday afternoon win with successful attacks from Sgherza, Duncan and Madeline Rudd, winning the fifth set, 15-12.
Overall, Sgherza fired off 24 kills, a season-high to go along with 18 digs and two blocks. Freshman Teresa Atilano served up a season-high 57 assists. The San Diego, California native also notched 10 digs, a season-high.
Up Next
ODU will face FAU for one more contest at the ODU Volleyball Center on Monday, March 1 with start slated for noon.