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Volleyball Sweeps Norfolk State to Win Quest for the Crown

Keith Lucas

NORFOLK, Va. – The Old Dominion volleyball team wrapped up a perfect weekend at the Quest for the Crown with a straight-sets win over Norfolk State in the first meeting between the local rivals. With its seventh win of the 2021 season, ODU matches its win total from the shortened spring season, its first as a competitive program.
"I'm really pleased with the level of play we got to over the weekend," head coach Fred Chao said. "It was an improvement every time we stepped out on the court. Offensively, we were working on some new things, but our defense allowed us to hang in sets and allow our offense to function. Overall, it was a great weekend for us, and we are pushing hard to gain the right experiences. I think that is starting to show and come into play late in sets when we need to play well and need to win. The team is really starting to figure that out."
The Monarchs (7-5) attacked at a .320 clip for the match while limiting the Spartans (4-7) to a .158 hitting percentage. Hailey Duncan and Myah Conway shared the game high with 11 kills.
Duncan needed just 17 swings to tally 11 kills and committed a pair of attacking errors for a hitting percentage of .529. The middle blocker from Chesapeake, Virginia has now hit .500 or better in three-straight matches and in four her last six.
Conway and fellow freshman Kira Smith each tallied four kills in the first set, a 25-19 ODU win. Olivia De Jesus scored the first point of the match with a kill, and the Monarchs never looked back. The Spartans twice tied the score in the first set, but ODU led wire-to-wire. The Monarchs built a five-point lead at 12-7 off a Teresa Atilano kill, but NSU worked back to within two at 16-14. The Spartans were still hanging around at 20-17 before Old Dominion closed out with five of the last seven points. Duncan made it 23-18, and a pair of errors from NSU won the set for ODU.
The Monarchs cruised to another wire-to-wire win in the second set, 25-13. ODU was rock-solid defensively in the set, limiting the Spartans to just six kills with six attack errors. Ashley Peroe provided an attacking lift off the bench in the set, tallying three kills on five attempts. The Monarchs broke open the set early with a 5-0 run to make the score 8-2. Trailing 17-6, the Spartans called a timeout and came out of the break with five-unanswered points to make it an 18-10 score. However, that would be the last push of the set for the visitors as ODU responded with a 4-0 run. The next two points went to Norfolk State before the Monarchs won the final three.
Old Dominion broke a 20-all tie to win a close third set 25-21. Six of Madeline Rudd's nine kills came in the final set, and Duncan added five as well. The Monarchs trailed early and did not lead until the 7-6 point of the set. No lead was long-lived in the third, and ODU soon faced its largest deficit of the set at 13-10. A kill from Rudd tied it at 15-15, but the Monarchs were soon down 18-16. Down 20-19, Duncan tied the set on a kill before ODU went ahead on a Spartan attack error. Anna Burkhardt gave the Monarchs a 22-20 lead with a service ace and drew a timeout from NSU. The timeout did little to break Old Dominion's momentum as the Monarchs scored the next two to go ahead 24-20. NSU got one back on a Rachel Williams kill before Duncan ended the match with a kill.
Old Dominion finished the match with seven service aces, including three from De Jesus. The middle blocker from West Hempstead, New York has 16 aces on the year, tied for the most on the team with Atilano, and has three matches with three or more aces this year.
Burkhardt had a match-high 15 digs to set a new personal best.
Atilano capped off a near-flawless tournament with 40 assists and nine digs. Over ODU's three matches at the Quest for the Crown, the setter averaged 12.55 assists per set with six kills and no attacking errors. For her efforts, the native of San Diego was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament and earned a spot on the all-tournament team.
Joining Atilano on the All-Tournament Team were Duncan and Conway. Duncan averaged 3.55 kills per set and 0.73 blocks per set at the tournament while hitting .578. Conway averaged 3.45 kills per set at a .324 clip.
Old Dominion enters Conference USA play on a four-match win streak and faces Florida Atlantic on the road on Sept. 24 and 25. Both matches begin at 1 p.m.
Quest for the Crown Most Valuable Player
Teresa Atilano, Old Dominion
Quest for the Crown All-Tournament Team
Teresa Atilano, Old Dominion
Myah Conway, Old Dominion
Hailey Duncan, Old Dominion
Emma Gielas, Buffalo
Kennedi Johnson, Radford
Courtney Okwara, Buffalo
Rachel Williams, Norfolk State