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Volleyball Falls to FIU in Three Sets

Keith Lucas

NORFOLK, Va. – The Old Dominion volleyball team lost in three sets to visiting FIU in a Conference USA matchup inside the ODU Volleyball Center on Saturday afternoon.
"There was a large gap between our serving game and their serving game," head coach Fred Chao said. "They brought a lot more power, a lot more drive and a lot more conviction in their serves than we did. We missed serves at inopportune times, and we couldn't stretch clusters of points the way they could."
The Panthers (6-11, 3-5 C-USA) hit .340 as a team and had an 11-2 edge in total blocks. Giada Bianchi led all players with 18 kills and added 13 digs.
Following the trend from Friday night, the opening set went to extra points. The Monarchs (11-11, 3-5) led 20-17 in the first before FIU notched four unanswered points. ODU had set point at 24-23, but four of the final five points of the set went FIU's way as the visiting team won it 27-25.
The Panthers won the second set 25-8 behind a .500 hitting percentage. FIU had 11 kills and just one error in the set on 20 total attempts. The Monarchs hit -.188 in the second.
ODU enjoyed its most-efficient hitting performance of the weekend in Saturday's third set, but it wasn't enough in a 25-23 loss. The Monarchs posted a .457 attack percentage with 18 kills and two errors on 35 total swings. Hailey Duncan had seven kills on just 10 attacks in the set, and Myah Conway and Alessia Sgherza each added five. Despite the close final margin, FIU led wire-to-wire in the third. Down 20-16, the Monarchs put together a 6-2 run to tie the set at 22-all. Conway and Duncan each provided a pair of kills during the run. The Panthers responded with two unanswered to bring up match point at 24-22. Sgherza kept Old Dominion alive with her 11th kill of the day, but FIU won the next point to take the match.
Conway posted a team high with 12 kills and did so on a .429 hitting percentage. Duncan had 11 kills and added a pair of block assists.
Teresa Atilano handed out 30 assists and chipped in five digs. Kira Smith led the team with seven digs.
ODU continues its conference campaign with two matches at No. 19 Western Kentucky on Thursday and Friday.