Lady Monarchs Earn Third-Seed in Sun Belt Conference Tournament after Splitting Weekend Series with Southern Miss

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ODU Athletics

Sophomore Myah Conway goes up for the spike attempt in Friday’s match against Southern Miss

Art Neal, Associate Sports Editor

This past week was a big week for the volleyball team. The Lady Monarchs had their final series of the 2022 season against the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi. With the Sun Belt tournament quickly approaching, the Lady Monarchs garnered a record of 11-14 while 6-6 in the Sun Belt, coming off a sweep of Georgia State in Atlanta. The Golden Eagles were 17-9 and 9-5 in the Sun Belt respectively. Both matches were slated to start at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10, and Friday, Nov. 11.

The first match was a thriller. The Lady Monarchs and the Eagles went all five sets and even went past the 15-point threshold in the winner-take-all set. 

The first set was even early before a 6-0 run by Southern Mississippi. Unfortunately, this 6-0 run was enough for the Golden Eagles to gain a big lead to stifle an ODU comeback as they took the set 25-19. 

The Lady Monarchs got their revenge in the second set. They took the set 25-20. ODU was led by right-side hitter Myah Conway, who had a handful of kills in the second set. Her 13th of the night took the set in the Lady Monarch’s favor and tied the match at 1-1. 

The third set’s score was a mirror image of the second except in favor of the Golden Eagles. They took down the Lady Monarchs 25-20 to gain a 2-1 lead in the match. This match was close throughout, but the Lady Monarchs could not muster a late push to take the lead. 

The fourth set was a statement set. The Lady Monarchs blew out the Golden Eagles with a score of 25-14. Conway stood out again as she surpassed the 20-kill mark in addition to some aces and timely kills by RS junior Hailey Duncan and RS sophomore Ashley Peroe. 

With the match tied at 2-2, the fifth set was a winner-take-all and both teams fought until the end. The Golden Eagles and Lady Monarchs were tied at 14, 15 and 16 before the Golden Eagles tallied two kills and took the set 18-16 and the match 3-2. Both teams put on a strong offensive show. The Lady Monarchs had Conway with 24 kills, Peroe with 13 and Duncan with 11, while the Golden Eagle’s Mia Wesley had 21 and Cara Atkinson had 20. 

The second match, which was Senior day for the Lady Monarchs, went in the Lady Monarchs’ favor. They took the match 3-1, giving the seniors a nice cap to the end of their final regular season as a Monarch.

The Lady Monarchs gained the first set decisively and took the contest 25-21 thanks to Conway, who scored a kill and an ace to seal the deal. 

ODU continued to dominate in the second set. They tallied a 6-0 run early in the set and never looked back, taking the set 25-18 thanks to an ace by sophomore libero Jamie Bismmeyer, which forced set point and an attack error by the Golden Eagles. 

The third set was close throughout, including a tie at 22, but the Lady Monarchs sadly were not able to capitalize and the Golden Eagles ended up slipping past, bringing the match to 25-22. 

The Lady Monarchs could smell the blood in the water and were able to put away the Golden Eagles 25-14 in a decisive fourth set. A kill by Camilla Tamburini and a pair of attack errors by Southern Mississippi were the deciding factors. 

This dominant performance by the Lady Monarchs was a team affair. Conway tallied a double-double with 19 kills and 12 digs and Duncan had 14 kills with an efficient hitting percentage of .650. At the same time, sophomore setter Teresa Atliano did a little bit of everything; she had 40 assists, four kills, and a pair of blocks. 

When asked about the win on senior night, head coach Fred Chao praised his players: “This was a very special night for our program and the team rose to the occasion. We celebrated the first class – the players who committed to building this program. I am so grateful for them and privileged to be their coach…our seniors deserved this.”

The Lady Monarchs are tabbed as the third seed in the Sun Belt Volleyball Tournament. This tournament will run Nov. 16-20 in Foley, Alabama, and will be available through ESPN+. The Lady Monarchs’ first contest will be at noon CT (1:00 p.m. EST), when they will be facing the winner of a match on Wednesday between Georgia State and Arkansas State.