ODU Volleyball Splits Weekend Series with Appalachian State

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ODU Athletics

Bailey Burgess and Teresa Atilano go up for the block in their matchup against App State on Friday night.

Art Neal , Associate Sports Editor

The Lady Monarchs and the Appalachian State Mountaineers from Boone, NC, clashed in a volleyball series this Halloween weekend. The Lady Monarchs arrived with a record of 8-13 (3-5 Sun Belt), while the Mountaineers sported a record of 13-8 (6-4 Sun Belt).

The first set between the two Sun Belt opponents opened with an exchange of points from both sides. ODU got hot first as a five-point run brought the score to 9-5, forcing the App. State coaching staff to re-evaluate in a timeout. App. State was briefly successful with a score out of the timeout, but then kills from  Myah Conway and  Ashley Peroe put the Lady Monarchs ahead 14-6. App. State responded, this time going on a four-point run to cut the ODU lead to 4 at 14-10. ODU went on a seven-point run thanks to two aces by sophomore libero Jamie Bissmeyer. Two kills by junior Tessa Mati and two blocks by freshman Bailey Burgess brought the set to 24-13, one point away from an ODU win. An App State service error sealed a decisive set with one win for the Lady Monarchs 25-13.  

Teresa Atilano sets up the ball for the ODU offensive attack against App State on Saturday afternoon. (ODU Athletics )

In the second set, the Mountaineers got out in front early on with a 9-6 advantage before the Lady Monarchs took control with a 4-0 scoring run that was capped off with an ace from sophomore Anna Burkhardt, bringing the score to10-9. Both sides traded points throughout the rest of the set, which featured 11 ties and nine lead changes. Peroe scored a ball from sophomore Teresa Atilano to give ODU the 23-21advantage, but App State responded with a kill and a pair of service aces that put the Mountaineers on top 24-23. The set exceeded the 25-point mark, and Old Dominion prevailed with a 29-27 set victory after Burgess and Atilano combined for back-to-back blocks. 

The Lady Monarchs jumped to an early 8-4 advantage in the third set, but the Mountaineers fought back with a 3-0 scoring run. ODU went up 12-8 before App State earned another three points to make it 12-11. Later in the set, Old Dominion put some space between themselves and their opponents to lead 24-16. On the verge of losing the match, App State stormed back with an 8-0 scoring run to tie the match at 24. On the ensuing plays, Atilano and Conway put together a pair of kills that gave the Lady Monarchs the 26-24 set victory and the sweep over the Mountaineers. 

The ODU offensive barrage was led by Peroe, who tallied 13 kills in conjunction with the trifecta of Mati, Conway, and junior Hailey Duncan. They all tallied seven kills each, respectively, with Atliano assisting 38 times. On the defensive side, Mati’s name showed up again as she led the team with 12 digs with four receiving errors, while Burkhardt tallied 11 digs with only one receiving error. As a team, the Monarchs hit for a .275 percentage and bettered their opponents in points (62.0-40.0), kills (45-30), service aces (7-6), blocks (10-4), assists (44-26) and digs (47-33).

After earning the straight-set victory on Friday night, it was time for the two teams to face each other again. The first set opened with a strike from the Lady Monarchs. ODU struggled due to a combination of self-inflicted errors and Mountaineer kills put them behind seven; the score was 14-7 in App State’s favor. The Lady Monarchs were not defeated yet, and they roared back to bring the score to 16-14. This comeback forced the App State coaching staff to take a timeout. The momentum continued in ODU’s favor as a Conway block brought the score within one 16-15. Despite the comeback, Old Dominion was defeated 25-22. 

The second set opened promisingly once again. ODU struck first with a kill from junior Tessa Mati. The Lady Monarchs’ luck changed as App State took over the scoreboard. Three kills from Conway gave the Lady Monarchs some momentum, but the lead was only marginally reduced to 19-9 and App State’s block increased their lead to 20-9. Despite a late push, the Lady Monarchs fell to the Mountaineers 25-14 in the second set, giving App State a 2-0 lead in the match.

The Lady Monarchs come together to celebrate after capturing a point. (Elena Harris )

On the verge of being swept, Old Dominion responded passionately in set three. It started as a close set, but the Lady Monarchs jumped ahead 10-7 thanks to a pair of Conway kills. After another Mountaineer timeout, App State fought back to bring the set within one point, but the Lady Monarchs prevailed and took the tight set 25-23. 

The Lady Monarchs carried their momentum into set four after avoiding the sweep, but their third set success did not follow them. With an App State kill, the Mountaineers won the fourth set 25-13 and the match overall 3-1. Atilano recorded a 26-assist and 12-dig double-double while adding two kills, one ace and three blocks. Conway scored a team-high 16 kills to go along with one block and four digs. Peroe followed her with nine kills, one block and eight digs. Burkhardt finished the match with 20 digs and six assists, and Bailey Burgess had two blocks with six digs, three kills, one assist, and one ace.

After the conclusion of the series, head coach Fred Chao shared his thoughts on splitting the series with the Mountaineers. “The one and one weekend versus App State is not surprising,” Chao stated. “We played well Friday night and forced them out of their game. Today they were the better team. They played well and forced us out of our game.”

Despite the loss, Conway continued her dominant season, leading her team with 16 kills on the day. After splitting the weekend series, Old Dominion’s record was 9-16 (4-6 Sun Belt). The Lady Monarchs will continue their first year in the Sun Belt as they take on Georgia State next weekend on the road. ODU will return home with a series against Southern Miss on November 10 and 11, which will be their season finale before heading into the Sun Belt tournament in Foley, Alabama later in the month.