All Sports Schedule

Volleyball Drops Five-Set Battle with FIU

Keith Lucas

NORFOLK, Va. – The Old Dominion volleyball team battled visiting FIU point-for-point on Friday night but lost 3-2 in a five-set thriller that featured 26 ties, nine lead changes and a pair of sets that went to extra points.
"We just didn't put together a complete match," head coach Fred Chao said. "None of this is ever easy. It's just a matter of when we can fight through and deal with those things. Sometimes you have to learn these painful lessons and get back at it. Without these experiences you expect everything to go well, and when it doesn't you start to panic or play a different way. Knowing what this feels like now, the hope is that we can file this away. It will be a scar because it definitely hurts, but that's how you get tougher."
The Monarchs (11-10, 3-4 C-USA) hit .123 as a team, totaling 56 kills against 36 errors on 162 total attempts. The Panthers (5-11, 2-5) hit .182 and tallied 18 total blocks.
FIU rode an efficient attack to a 27-25 win in the first set, compiling a .355 attack percentage. ODU scored four unanswered to grab its first lead of the night at 9-8 and would not go behind again until the Panthers put together a 5-1 run to go from down 19-18 to ahead 23-20. FIU got to set point at 24-22, but the Monarchs tied the set on a Hailey Duncan kill and a ball handling error. FIU scored next to go on top 25-24, but Alessia Sgherza once again tied the score with her lone kill of the set. However, that would be ODU's final point of the first as the Panthers took the next two to win the set.
The Monarchs notched four total blocks in the second set and held FIU to a .065 attack percentage, taking the set 25-21. Sgherza notched seven of ODU's 13 kills in the set while hitting .462. Leading 6-5, the Monarchs took the next five points to build an 11-5 advantage and never looked back. Old Dominion kept FIU's momentum in check for the remainder of the set, and the Panthers never scored more than two points in a row. Kira Smith provided the decisive point in the second, finishing off a feed from Teresa Atilano for her third kill of the set.
Old Dominion had just six kills and committed seven attack errors in the third set, losing it 25-16 to fall behind in the match once more. The opening point of the set went to the Monarchs, but the Panthers scored the next four and led from there on. Despite the cold attack, ODU managed to stick close with FIU were down just 14-10 before a 7-2 run from the Panthers put the set away.
The Monarchs outlasted FIU in the fourth set, winning it by a 28-26 margin. ODU had twice as many kills (18-9) as the Panthers in the fourth set and hit 114 percentage points better. Old Dominion won two of the first three points in the fourth and held on to that lead until FIU scored two unanswered to edge ahead 23-22. Duncan then tied the score with one of her five kills in the set, but a Giada Bianchi kill followed to bring up match point for the Panthers. The Monarchs took the next two and led 26-25 before FIU knotted the score on the next point. Finally, Old Dominion put the set away with consecutive kills by Sgherza to force a deciding fifth set.
The Monarchs hit -.235 in a 15-9 loss in the fifth set. ODU led early, 2-1, before a 5-0 run put the guests in control for good. Old Dominion pulled to within two and were down 8-6 before a 4-0 run from FIU.
Sgherza shared the match high with 18 kills and added six digs and three block assists. Duncan added 11 kills and eight total blocks (two solo, six assists), and Myah Conway tallied 10 kills. Smith narrowly missed out on a double-double and had nine kills and nine digs.
Atilano led the match with 47 assists and had three kills, six digs and four block assists as well. Anna Burkhardt led the Monarchs wit h13 digs, and Jordan Daniel had 12 as well.
The Monarchs and Panthers meet again on Saturday at 2 p.m.