Women’s Volleyball Splits Weekend Series vs Charlotte


Photo Courtesy to Keith Lucas of ODU Sports, taken from ODU v Charlotte 10/9


Jalen Hannah | Associate Sports Editor


The women’s volleyball team had their hands full this weekend as they faced the University of Charlotte in a double header, with matches being played on both Friday and Saturday. ODU wasn’t able to win on Friday, but earned a convincing win on Saturday to split the series, showing signs of a new program still improving.


The 49ers came into Friday’s match with an overall record of 9-7, coming off two straight wins against Florida Atlantic. It wasn’t a secret that the Monarchs would need to be prepared for a tough challenge.


ODU also came into the weekend with a record of 9-7, but we're coming off of a loss against the University of Alabama at Birmingham. This made this weekend's matches vs Charlotte that much more important, as it was crucial for the club to get back on track with a good performance. The good news for Old Dominion was that they would be playing in front of their home crowd for two more games, bringing the total to four straight home games for the Monarchs.


Having the crowd on their side wasn’t enough for the Monarchs to overcome a dominant performance from Charlotte on Friday, as they won the first match of the weekend winning in three sets. ODU’s struggles started early, as they fell into a hole quickly in the first set that would eventually lead to a loss of 12-25. If there was anything one could point to as the problem for ODU on Friday, effort and heart wouldn’t be that. The team fought as hard as they could to put up a good performance in front of their home crowd, which was roaring in support of the club for the entirety of the match despite ODU struggling.

Photo Courtesy to Darin Allen, taken from ODU vs Charlotte 10/8


ODU was able to make the rest of the match more interesting, giving Charlotte more of a run for their money off the strength of not only the crowd, but the team as a whole. They were constantly pushing each other to dig deeper for each other and keep fighting. They were able to get off to a quick start in the second set, leading 5-2 early on. This lead didn’t last long, however, as Charlotte climbed back rather quickly. This eventually forced Old Dominion to use a timeout to talk things over after going down 13-11. ODU would go on to lose this set 25-20, and at this point, it was becoming clear to see what some of the problems were for Old Dominion. At the end of the second set, ODU had seven service errors and 12 attack errors, which helped Charlotte in earning several of their points during the match. In addition to the errors, ODU was only able to stir up a hitting percentage of .139 compared to Charlotte’s .400 hitting percentage. ODU was continuously hurting themselves in the first two sets, which in turn made them face a potential match ending set heading into the third.


On a positive note, ODU displayed their ability to regroup on the fly as they improved with every set inching closer to a victory. They got off to a good start in the third set as well, but lost their lead rather quickly, calling another timeout trailing 13-9. It wasn’t long after the timeout that play stopped again, as ODU Head Coach Fred Chao challenged a call from the official, ruling a ball hit out by Old Dominion. It was a brief pause as the call on the floor stood, but ODU came out of the timeout on fire. Old Dominion was down 15-9 after the unsuccessful challenge call, and eventually climbed back to make the score 15-13, which forced Charlotte to call a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, ODU was able to tie the score at 15. The momentum was on their side, with the crowd noise reaching its climax for the night. The rest of the set went back and forth with ODU taking the lead again shortly, until Charlotte eventually won the set 25-23, sealing the match as well.


Coach Chao noticed the improvement in his team as the match went on as well. “I think it definitely got better for us the longer we played. I think that points to the experience that we still need to gain.” This season is only the second year that ODU has a volleyball program, so everyone involved in it is still learning to be better. Coach Chao did feel that the more games the club was able to play, the more the program would develop with that experience.


ODU proved Coach Chao right, with their performance steadily improving throughout Friday’s match. It solidified with an impressive match win in Saturday's contest, returning the favor to Charlotte in a three set sweep. In Saturday’s contest, #15 Kira Smith recorded 15 kills, which was her career high at Old Dominion and tied for a team best this season. Coach Chao, after the match, simply stated that this is the way the team always knew they could play. “It felt like this was our team. This is what we train for, this is how we’re meant to play.” It was a very impressive performance from the club to come right back and sweep the same team that had swept them the day prior. It is another example of how the team will continue to fight while remaining resilient. ODU Volleyball will face their next challenge on the road, when they travel to face Marshall in another double header.

Photo Courtesy to Darin Allen, taken from ODU vs Charlotte 10/8