ODU Serving Up Women’s Volleyball


Photo courtesy of Virginia Pilot

By James Onuska, Sports Editor

Originally published April 22, 2021.

The inaugural season of Old Dominion University women’s volleyball has just recently wrapped up and so many exciting things to take from the epoch season. With so many circumstances in question with the current situation of sports on campus in the United States, the women’s volleyball team was able to beat all odds and dig out any potential problems while returning serve with a very competitive season of volleyball at ODU.

The first great move made by the team was the hiring of Fred Chao. Coach Chao’s resume is lengthy with lots of success. Twenty plus seasons at the helm and Coach Chao brings a winning formula. His experience is evident and reflects on teams and players Coach Chao has lead in the past. “I would like to thank President John R. Broderick, Athletic Director Wood Selig and Associate A.D., Senior Women’s Administrator Ragean Hill, for entrusting me to build the very first volleyball program at ODU. I would also like to thank the search committee and all the warm and passionate people I met throughout the process. Everyone is excited to have volleyball at ODU, and the level of commitment to the program is evident,” Chao says on inheriting the opportunity to lead the inaugural season of women’s basketball at ODU.

The season was met with a lot of adversity with postponements, restrictions, and safety protocols due to the Covid-19. The team was still able to set up an impressive first season which included seven victories, with five of those wins coming at ODU Volleyball Center. As restrictions lessen, this will give fans and supporters more of an opportunity to come enjoy the new sport that is bumping their way into our hearts.

Graduate student Alessia Sgherza and freshman Teresa Atilano both received All-Conference USA honors. Sgherza’s play was spectacular, playing in all 69 sets for the team, earning her a spot on the All-C-USA second team. You could say that while on the court, Sgherza was killing it with her five double-doubles in ODU’s inaugural season. Atilano lead the team with 586 assists and played in all 18 games. Her 29 serving aces explained why it was no doubt for her to be selected to the C-USA all-freshman team. Some serious honorable mentions to a young exciting team with Hailey Duncan finishing second on the team in points and Jamie Bissmeyer second on the team in serving aces with 19.

These ladies did a spectacular job representing the university while also initiating something special here at ODU. When the team resumes playing next season, make sure you bump them up on your things to watch on campus and check out a match of our newly inspirational talent at the ODU Volleyball Center. Go Pride!