Volleyball Faces Conference Foes Duquesne and George Washington on the Road This Weekend
Elyse Burkert

Volleyball Faces Conference Foes Duquesne and George Washington on the Road This Weekend

PHILADELPHIA - Two strong teams await Temple volleyball this weekend as the Owls head out on the road for a Friday, Oct. 12 match at Duquesne (16-6, 4-1) and a Sunday, Oct. 14 contest at George Washington (6-13, 3-2). Temple is 14-5 overall and currently stands in a three-way tie for second in the Atlantic 10 with a record of 4-1.

The 7:00 p.m. match at Duquesne on Friday will have live stats available HERE, and a live webcast available to subscribers HERE. For the 1:00 p.m. game at George Washington on Sunday, live stats are HERE and a live webcast is HERE.

With an overall record of 14-5, the Owls are off to their best start in a season since the 2002 team went 22-5 before dropping a sixth match. That team finished at 29-7 overall, won the Atlantic 10 Championship and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. At 4-1 in the A-10 so far, the Owls are off to their best league start since 2008.

In Temple's match against Dayton on Sept. 29, Chelsea Tupuola recorded enough digs to move into 10th place all-time in program history in digs. Tupuola has tallied 1,201 digs in her career, surpassing Leslie Brandt (1989-92) who previously held the 10th spot with 1,179 digs. In ninth place stands Shelly Miller with 1,335 digs.

Of the Owls' 14 wins this season, 10 have been sweeps for Temple. Of the 65 total sets the Owls have played, they have won 45 of them.

Beyond having impressive stats when compared to the rest of the A-10, many Temple players are nationally-ranked in a number of categories, as are the Owls as a team. With 5.40 digs per set, Tupuola currently ranks 20th among all players in NCAA Division I. With 11.34 assists per set, Tiffany Connatser currently ranks 20th in the nation, and with 4.20 kills per set, Elyse Burkert ranks 34th in the nation.

As a team, the Owls currently rank 12th among all teams in Division I with 17.80 digs per set. Temple also ranks 40th in service aces at 1.48 per set.

Over four non-conference tournaments this season, the Owls earned eight All-Tournament awards including two MVP awards. Chelsea Tupuola was named the MVP of both the Temple Invitational and the Big 5 Tournament. She was also named Best Libero at the Temple Invitational, and was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Miami (OH) Invitational. Elyse Burkert, who earned Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 10, was named to All-Tournament Teams at Miami and South Carolina. Jingyu Zhang was named the Best Spiker at the Temple Invitational, and Tiffany Connatser was named to the Big 5 All-Tournament Team.

Temple took its first-ever Big 5 Tournament title, and also won its own Temple Invitational. The Owls finished as runners-up at the Miami (OH) Invitational.

As a team, Temple leads the conference in digs (17.80 per set) and ranks second in three other categories. With 12.34 assists per set, the Owls rank second as a team. With 13.11 kills per set, Temple ranks second, and with 1.48 aces per set, the Owls also rank second.

Tiffany Connatser ranks second in the A-10 in assists (11.34 per set), Gabriella Matautia leads the league in service aces (0.39 per set) and Chelsea Tupuola leads the conference in digs (5.40 per set). Elyse Burkert ranks second in the A-10 in both kills (4.20) and points (4.46 per set).

The Dukes are 16-6 overall and have won seven of their last eight, including going 4-1 in A-10 play. Last weekend Duquesne suffered its first conference loss, 3-1 at George Washington, but rebounded for a non-conference win at West Virginia by a score of 3-2. Three of the Dukes' losses this season have been to nationally-ranked teams. Duquesne has a balanced offense with four players averaging more than 2.00 kills per set, led by Allison Foschia with 2.99 kills/set. Foschia and three others average over 2.00 digs per set, led by libero Patti Abshire with 3.90 digs/set.

The Colonials' overall record of 6-13 is a deceiving one, as four of their losses are to nationally-ranked teams and they have gone 3-2 in conference play including a comeback win over Duquesne. That win came in their only match last week, while the week before GW split road matches with a loss at Butler followed by a win at Saint Louis. Lauren Whyte leads GW with 3.82 kills per set along with 2.03 digs per set. Libero Candace Silva-Martin leads the team with 4.00 digs per set.

Temple leads Duquesne 35-5 in the all-time series, and split matches with the Dukes last season. Duquesne won 3-0 on its home court, but later in the season the Owls won 3-2 at home.

The Owls have a longer history with George Washington, leading the all-time series 32-23. The teams have played just once in each of the last two seasons, with the Colonials winning both. Temple's last win over GW came in 2009 at the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

Be sure to follow Temple volleyball on Facebook (facebook.com/TempleVolleyball). You can also get all Temple athletics' latest news by following the Owls on Twitter (@Owlsports_com) and Facebook (facebook.com/TempleAthletics).
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