Lady Monarchs Split Conference Series with Coastal Carolina

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Elena Harris

The Lady Monarchs come together to celebrate after scoring a point.

Benjamin Draper, Sports Editor

The Old Dominion Volleyball team was back in action this weekend with a Sun Belt matchup against Coastal Carolina. The Monarchs came into the series with a record of 7-10 (2-2 Sun Belt) while the Chanticleers held a formidable 14-5 (6-0 Sun Belt) record. The series marks the first-ever meeting between the two programs. 

The first match took place Friday evening at the Volleyball Center and it was clear from the start that Old Dominion was zoned in. In the first set, ODU jumped out with nine-straight points to lead 9-0. The early advantage marked the best start to a match in program history. The Lady Monarchs would continue to put on the early pressure with two service aces from sophomore Teresa Atilano and three kills by junior Tessa Mati that helped the Monarchs cruise to a 25-12 first-set victory.

Freshman Bailey Burgess #5 goes up for the spike in Friday’s match against Coastal. (Elena Harris )

In the second set, it was a bit of the opposite as the set would begin with back-and-forth points which would eventually turn into an offensive outburst from the Chanticleers. Coastal was able to weather the storm early on, but they found their rhythm and tied the match up at a set a piece. Old Dominion jumped out to the early 3-0 lead in set three before the Chanticleers answered back with two points to make it 3-2. Unlike the first two sets, the third set was much more competitive and was a back-and-forth affair that stood at 22-19 with the Monarchs up. After another Coastal point off the service error, the ODU squad locked in and scored the next three points to win the set 25-19.  

The fourth set was just as entertaining as the third. It was a battle that featured 13 ties and three lead changes. The Lady Monarchs held a 16-12 advantage before Coastal came back with a 5-point scoring run to gain the lead. The match went both ways and with the score deadlocked at 22, Atilano assisted sophomore Ashley Peroe on a kill before Mati dropped in a cross-court shot that made it 24-22. On the ensuing play, Atilano and junior Hailey Duncan combined on the block attempt to secure the match point and give Coastal Carolina their first conference loss of the season. 

After the victory on Friday, the two teams took the court once again on Saturday afternoon. To begin the second match of the weekend, the first set started out competitive. The Lady Monarchs jumped out to an 8-6 advantage before their offense started to dwindle. Coastal took advantage of the opportunity and would outscore ODU 19-8 to win the first set 25-16. In the ensuing set, Coastal and ODU would have a similar start to the first set and the match was close with the Chanticleers ahead 11-9 before they began to pull away once again. They scored five straight points to increase their lead to 16-9. Later in the set, the Lady Monarchs inched closer with a scoring run that cut it to 19-17 in favor of Coastal. Although ODU had the late push, the Chanticleers prevailed and took the second set 25-20.

Junior Hailey Duncan #6 and sophomore Teresa Atilano #9 go up to defend the net as they attempt to block the opposing shot from the Chanticleers. (Elena Harris )

After dropping the first two sets, the Lady Monarchs got some revenge with a stellar performance in the third set they led from start to finish. A Peroe kill opened up a 6-1 scoring swing as ODU increased its lead to 19-9. The Chanticleers would try to fight their way back as they brought it to 22-16, but Old Dominion would score the next three points and won the set 25-16. In the fourth set, it was a close match until halfway through before the Chanticleers put together points to pull away 19-15. ODU would retaliate with two kills from Duncan and Atilano and an ace by Burkhardt that cut the Coastal lead down to 21-19. Eventually, the Chanticleers prevailed and would hold on 25-21 to win the set and match overall. Old Dominion came out of the weekend with a 8-11 (3-3 Sun Belt) record.

After the game, head coach Frank Chao shared his thoughts on the series split and how his team battled. “Going 1-1 against Coastal is another step forward for our program. Today’s result was disappointing, but we held up as a team,” Chao stated. “The players did a great job maintaining their composure and fought hard.”

Looking ahead for the Lady Monarchs, they continue their conference schedule and will be on the road this week when they travel to Lafayette, LA to play against the Lousiana Ragin’ Cajuns. The teams will meet on Thursday, Oct. 20th, and Friday, Oct 21st, with both matches slated for 7 p.m. ODU will return to Norfolk on Oct. 28th when they welcome Appalachian State into town for Sun Belt action.