Burkert and Matautia Lead Volleyball to Sweeps of UNC Asheville and Akron

Burkert and Matautia Lead Volleyball to Sweeps of UNC Asheville and Akron

Box Score 1 | Box Score 2

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Elyse Burkert and Gabriella Matautia combined for 63 total kills in leading Temple volleyball to three-set sweeps of both UNC Asheville and Akron on the final day of the South Carolina Gamecock Invitational. Burkert's 17 kills led the Owls (2-2) to their first win of the season early in the day over UNC Asheville (0-3), and Matautia later knocked down 20 kills in a sweep of Akron (1-3).

Burkert added eight digs to her impressive showing in the first match, while Matautia had a strong morning as well with a match-high 15 digs to go with nine kills. Jennifer Iacobini knocked down five kills with just one error, while tying for match-high honors with four blocks. Tiffany Connatser was error-free with three kills, also dishing out a match-best 35 assists, recording six digs and two blocks.

The Owls won by scores of 25-16, 25-21 and 25-20 against UNC Asheville. Temple dominated in the first set, at one point using a 5-0 run to take a 21-13 lead. It was a very efficient set for the Owls, who had 15 kills with just four errors for a hitting percentage of .344. Whlie the second set was closer, Temple still led throughout with 17 kills to UNC Asheville's 11. Like the other two, the third set was never in doubt as the Owls held a solid lead the whole way.

The final match was much tighter throughout, but still the Owls came away with the victory by scores of 25-23, 31-29 and 25-21. Matautia's 20 kills along with Burkert's 17 kills provided nearly all the offense for Temple. Both were strong on defense as well, with eight and nine digs, respectively, but it was Tupuola who really took charge of the back row with a match-high 18 digs. Connatser finished the day strong with 43 assists in the win along with seven digs.

There were 11 ties in the first set and 12 in the second as the teams battled throughout. The first set was tied at 22-22 before Temple closed out on a 3-1 run that included a kill from Matautia and a set-winning kill from Burkert.

The second set was tied at every point from 23-29, but Temple never once had to fight off a set point. The Owls had a frustrating seven total set points before finally closing it out on the seventh with yet another winner from Burkert. Temple recovered from the fight well, leading by a few points for most of the third set and putting the match away.

The Owls will be back in action next weekend closer to home as they take part in the annual Big 5 Tournament at the Palestra on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. Temple will play host Penn first, on Friday, Aug. 31 at 7:00 p.m.

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