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Volleyball Concludes Weekend With 3-0 Setback to JMU

2023 Sideline Media

NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion volleyball wrapped up its Royal Rivalry series against James Madison on Saturday afternoon, dropping the match 3-0 to the Dukes.

ODU now stands at 9-11 overall and 1-5 in Sun Belt action.

"We started off pretty well," said head coach Fred Chao. "We hit for a decent percentage even though we lost that first set, but the game started to get away from us. James Madison makes a really good push in the middle of the sets. Their serving ramps up a little bit and we didn't keep up with that. Their ball control is really good and they're always putting their hitters in a good situation to take swings, or at least threaten to swing. Some of it's them, some of it's us, but we need to be better about those things."

James Madison 3, ODU 0
A JMU attack error, a block by LeeAnne Lowery and Myah Conway and a pair of kills by Conway helped the Monarchs establish an early 4-2 to lead to start the first set. After the Dukes (13-4, 6-0) pulled even at 4-4, Ashlynn Belcher assisted Conway on another couple of scores to highlight a 4-0 run for ODU. The visitors again pulled even at 8-8 before an Alice Munari kill and service ace and a solo block by Tessa Mati put the home team back in front, 12-9. JMU put together a 6-0 run to surge ahead 15-12, but the Monarchs evened the set at 18-18. The sides traded points from there, but back-to-back kills by JMU's Miëtte Veldman secured a 25-22 decision in favor of the Dukes.

In the second set, JMU jumped out to an 8-4 advantage and later swelled that lead to 12-6. With ODU trailing 15-8, Bailey Burgess converted an attack and Conway served a pair of aces to highlight a 4-0 push that cut the deficit to 15-12. However, the Dukes responded with a 7-1 swing and held on for a 25-15 final and a two-set lead in the match.

ODU was up 6-3 towards the begging of the third set as Belcher assisted Elisa Maggi on a kill. The Dukes then used a 6-0 run to go up 11-7, and a Conway kill ignited a 5-0 ODU response as the Monarchs retook the lead, 12-11. The set was locked at 16-16 when the Dukes pulled away with eight-straight points. A Burgess kill and a JMU attack error kept the set going, but Sophie Davis put away a ball from Caroline Dozier for the match point at 25-18.

Conway was two digs shy of a double-double, finishing with a team-high 13 kills and eight digs. The junior also served three aces with two blocks and two assists. Mati and Munari were next with five kills each and Belcher contributed a career high 26 assists. On defense, Lowery and Burgess made two blocks each while Kilpatrick led the back row with 17 digs.

On Belcher's first start at setter this season, Chao added, "Some of the things that we were working on, she was executing really well and she defends really well. She just played a really good game overall."

As a team, the Monarchs hit .280 in the opening set and edged the Dukes in serving with six aces to JMU's four. The match featured 12 ties, including seven in the third set, and five lead changes.

Up Next
ODU will travel to Conway, South Carolina next weekend for a conference series at Coastal Carolina. The teams will open with a 6 p.m. match on Friday, then return for a 1 p.m. start on Saturday.