PHILADELPHIA (Tom Gola Arena) - With a 3-0 win at La Salle on Friday night, the Temple volleyball team earned its 10th sweep of the season. The Owls (14-5, 4-1) defeated the Explorers (3-17, 0-5) by scores of 25-23, 25-20, 25-19.
led Temple with 15 kills, while Elyse Burkert
notched a double-double with 11 kills and 15 digs. Chelsea Tupuola
led all players with 19 digs, and Tiffany Connatser
was close to a double-double with 34 assists to go with nine digs.
All-time, the Owls improved their record over La Salle to 47-1, and Temple head coach Bakeer Ganes
reflected on what it's like to feel the pressure to win rather than being the underdog.
"I think it's not always easy to play against a team where you have to be aggressive and you are not necessarily the clear underdog," said Ganes. "This was not an easy task for us, especially on the road. Considering that, I actually think we did a good job as a team finishing La Salle in three sets. That was a good performance at the end of every set to close each one out. This is an exciting development to see and an upgrade from last season.
"Moving forward, we know we'll pretty much be the underdog every time we play. So we really have to go back and look at film and see where we need to improve so we can be ready for the next opponent which is Duquesne. They're undefeated in the A-10 still and that's going to be a very tough match-up for us. But we'll put in the work and be ready for the match and see what happens."
Temple came out sluggish in the first set, which was extremely tight throughout with 14 ties and eight lead changes. Both teams committed a number of unforced errors at the net, and La Salle actually led the set at 23-22 before commiting a service error and two ball-handling errors and handing the Owls the set.
The Owls more than doubled their number of kills from the first set to the second set. There were seven ties, but the last was at 14-14 before Temple pulled away by a few points down the stretch. Matautia served up and ace and knocked down two kills in that stretch to help Temple win the set 25-20.
Both teams had their best hitting performance in the third set, with the Owls narrowly out-hitting La Salle, .286 to .238. Temple led by eight, 20-12, but allowed the Explorers five straight points before starting to put the set away. Matautia set up set point with a kill and Jingyu Zhang
spiked it for the match-winner.
The Owls will have a week off before traveling to Duquesne on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7:00 p.m.