Philadelphia, Pa. – Temple volleyball hit a massive .396 as a team en route to a three-set sweep (25-11, 25-17, 25-16) of Cincinnati on Friday night in front of a packed home crowd at McGonigle Hall. With the win, the Owls moved to 12-5 overall, 3-2 in the American, while Cincinnati dips to 11-6, 3-2 in the conference with the loss.
Temple recorded its highest hitting percentage of the season and the best for the program since a .457 performance against Chicago State in 2012. Sophomore Tyler Davis led the attack with 16 kills and just one error, hitting at a .456 clip. Freshman Dara Peric and Sophomore Kirsten Overton also contributed to the offensive charge, with Peric recording nine kills and hitting .364, and Overton adding six kills and a team-high .556 attack percentage.
While the offense was rolling, Temple's defense also aided the complete effort in the win. Junior Sandra Sydlik recorded a match-high 14 digs, while also dishing out 39 assists. Senior Alyssa Drachslin contributed 11 digs, while Peric added 10. At the net, Overton finished with five blocks, while junior Halle McCullough added three.
The Owls celebrated Homecoming with a Hawaiian themed night that brought out a loud home crowd. "We knew it was going to be a tough game and we knew we had to get a win at home," said Davis. "We really tried to take advantage of the energy in the gym and use home court to our advantage."
Head Coach Bakeer Ganes also noted the great fan support in the win. "The crowd makes a huge difference," he noted. "When the crowd gets into it and really support us, the players really feed off of it."
The first set was all Temple, as the Owls hit .433 with 14 kills and just one error. The cherry and white turned a 10-5 edge into a 10-point lead early in the set, backed by a long serving run from Peric that extended the Owl advantage to 15-5. Holding all the momentum, the Owls cruised to the 25-11 set one final.
Set two was tight at the outset, with the Owls holding a 10-7 lead after 17 points. A pair of Davis kills sparked the Temple offense, as the Owls used an 14-6 run to take a commanding 24-13 advantage late in the set. Cincinnati made some noise with Temple at match point, cutting the Owl lead to 24-17 on three errors and a kill from Emma Roberson. However, Temple stopped the rally and sealed the match with a huge kill from McCullough to give the Owls a 25-17 set win and 2-0 match lead.
Set three was the closest of the night, featuring six ties and five lead changes until it was tied at 9-9. A pair of attack errors from the Bearcats then swung the momentum in Temple's favor, as the Owls got kills from Davis, Overton, and Peric to open up a 14-9 lead. Cincinnati got no closer in the set, as the Owls held on to a commanding lead down the stretch. The set and match ended on a powerful swing from Overton in the middle, giving Temple the win.
"It's really tough to get any wins in this conference, so it's nice to start our conference home schedule with a win," added Ganes. "I'm really happy with our performance today, it was a complete match. Now we have to do it again on Sunday."
Temple has one more American Athletic Conference clash this weekend. The Owls will host Memphis in McGonigle Hall at 1:00pm on Sunday.
Box Score * Post-Match Interviews