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Volleyball Rallies for Four-Set Win over Purdue Fort Wayne

Keith Lucas

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Old Dominion volleyball team bounced back from a first-set loss to defeat Purdue Fort Wayne 3-1 to close out the Liberty Invitational on Saturday.
"I am appreciative of the opportunity to play volleyball on this day of remembrance and American resiliency," head coach Fred Chao said. "The win today was great, but the real victory was being able to bring more players into the match who made the difference. Things weren't clicking for us throughout the first set. It was such a great feeling to be able to look down the bench and know we had options who became solutions. Kira Smith found herself back in the front row and became a weapon. Camilla Tamburini solidified the serve and first touch, which allowed Hailey Duncan and Olivia De Jesus to take over. Madelyn Grunza made a big impact at the net as an attacker and blocker. She turned the tides on that side of the court and helped us gain the advantage we needed. The team took another step in building the identity of this program."
Olivia De Jesus and Kira Smith had 12 kills each to lead the Monarchs (4-5). Smith reached double-figures in kills for the second time this season. De Jesus set a new personal best in kills, hitting double digits for the first time.
Teresa Atilano had her first double-double of the season with 48 assists and a career-high 15 digs. Additionally, the native of San Diego added four kills and two aces.
ODU lost the first set 25-14 after committing eight attack errors and finishing the set with a -0.065 hitting percentage. The Mastodons (2-7) broke open a 4-4 tie with six unanswered points and led for the remainder. Old Dominion worked itself back into the set at 11-9, but PFW closed out the set by scoring 14 of the final 19 points.
The Monarchs turned around their attack following the opener and took the next three sets. ODU finished the match with 54 kills on a .234 attack percentage. In the final three sets of the match, Old Dominion racked up 48 kills to just 12 errors on 114 attempts (.316). 
Six kills from Smith guided the Monarchs to a 25-20 win in the second set. ODU trailed 15-14 at the midpoint before a 4-0 run gave Old Dominion the lead for good. Smith was responsible for three of the Monarch's four points in that decisive run. The Mastodons threatened to tie up the set, scoring three-straight to make it 20-19. Hailey Duncan stopped the run with a kill, and ODU won five of the final six points.
A late 9-2 run from the Monarchs erased a 21-16 deficit in the third set, a 25-23 win for ODU. Old Dominion tallied 18 kills in the third while attacking at a .417 clip. De Jesus notched eight kills in the set on just 11 swings (.636). PFW steadily built its 21-16 advantage, never scoring more than three consecutive points. The Monarchs began their late comeback with six unanswered to pull ahead 22-21. Purdue Fort Wayne tied the match on the next point, but a kill from De Jesus put ODU on top for good. PFW pulled to within one at 24-23, but an attacking error won the set for Old Dominion.
The Monarchs ran away with the fourth set, winning 25-17. Neither side could gain any separation early on until ODU scored five straight to pull ahead 13-9. From there, Old Dominion remained in control of the set as the Mastodons were unable to put together a run. The Monarchs won the last three points of the set with a service ace from Jordan Daniel providing the exclamation mark on the set and the match.
Madelyn Grunza finished with 10 kills for ODU, her second double-digit kill match of the season. Daniel set the team-high in digs with 16.
ODU returns home to host the Quest for the Crown, a two-day, four-team tournament on Sept. 17 and 18. Featuring in the event are Buffalo, Norfolk State and Radford.