-- The Temple volleyball team heads to Bayamon, Puerto Rico for two matches at the 2016 Puerto Rico Clásico. The Owls will face Virginia Tech on Friday at 3:00 p.m. and Alabama on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
Six Division I teams are traveling to Bayamon, Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Clásico at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez. The Owls will be joined by Alabama, Florida State, Texas A&M, Minnesota, and Virginia Tech.
TEMPLE INVITATIONAL CHAMPIONS
Temple won the 2016 Sonesta Hotel Temple Invitational with a pair of victories last weekend. The Owls topped Northern Arizona, a 2015 NCAA Tournament team, 3-1 on Friday, and then swept Hampton, 3-0, on Saturday.
LAST TIME OUT: TEMPLE 3, NAU 1
In a 3-1 win (25-15, 18-25, 25-20, 25-20) over Northern Arizona, Temple shook off a rough second set to hit .261 for the match, including hitting over .300 in both the first and the fourth sets.
led the Owls with 18 kills, while Irem Asci
notched a double-double with 10 kills and a team-best 14 digs. va Deak and Kyra Coundourides
were each stellar in their Temple debuts, as Deak notched eight kills, no errors, and a team-high six blocks, and Coundourides had a double-double with 48 assists and 10 digs.
LAST TIME OUT: TEMPLE 3, HAMPTON 0
In a sweep over Hampton (25-23, 25-15, 25-20), the Owls withstood a solid blocking performance by the Pirates, who racked up 17 stops at the net. Temple hit .214 to the Hampton's .159, while out-digging the Pirates, 33-28.
Rapacz led the Owls in nearly every category, racking up 14 kills (hitting .360) with eight digs, five aces, and four blocks, while Caroline Grattan
racked up eight kills. Hannah Vandegrift
picked up 31 assists with six digs, handling setting duties.
RAPACZ NAMED OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
was named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. It is the first career weekly award for the junior.
In her first two matches playing all around, Rapacz earned MVP honors, leading the Owls to wins over Northern Arizona and Hampton. Against NAU, a 2015 NCAA Tournament team, the outside hitter led the Owls with 18 kills, also adding six digs and five blocks. Against Hampton, Rapacz led the Owls in nearly every category, racking up 14 kills with eight digs, five aces, and four blocks. For the week, the junior averaged 4.57 kills, 2.00 digs, and 1.29 blocks per set with a .355 attack.
SCOUTING VIRGINIA TECH
Virginia Tech enters the tournament with a 3-0 record, after defeating Appalachian State, Siena, and UMBC at the Radford/Virginia Tech Invitational over the weekend. The Hokies went five sets against Appalachian State, winning 22-25, 33-31, 24-26, 26-24, 15-8, but swept both Siena and UMBC.
Lindsey Owens leads Virginia Tech with 4.82 kills per set, while Jaila Tolbert averages 3.18. Rhegan Mitchell has handled setting duties to the tune of 11.64 assists per set. Defensively Cara Cunningham and Tolbert each have 13 total blocks, while Carol Rafferty averages 5.09 digs per set.
Alabama carries a 3-1 overall mark heading into the tournament. The Crimson tide went 2-1 at the Hurricane Classic to open the season, defeating South Dakota (3-1) and Incarnate Word (3-1), but falling to Tulsa (3-2). Alabama then hosted their home opener on Tuesday, a 3-0 sweep of Samford.
Kyrstal Rivers leads the offense with 4.94 kills per set, while Kat Hutson averages 3.00. Rivers is also tied for the team-lead in blocks with 11, while averaging 2.13 digs per set. Elsewhere, Leah Lawrence (11) and Hayley McSparin (10) round out the blocking leaders, while Natalie Murison tops the defense with 3.75 digs per set.
OWLS VS. THE TOURNAMENT FIELD
Temple is 10-4 all-time against Virginia Tech, but the teams haven't met since 1999. In their last meeting the Hokies grabbed a narrow, 3-2 victory. Temple and Alabama have met just one time in program history, a 1991 match-up at the Syracuse Invitational. The Crimson Tide came away with that victory, 3-2.
COUNDOURIDES FACES FORMER TEAM
Junior transfer Kyra Coundourides
will be facing her former team on Friday, when Temple faces Virginia Tech. In two seasons as a Hokie, she played in 59 matches, while the team went 36-27 overall, 20-18 in the ACC. Coundourides racked up 956 assists in two seasons, with 304 digs and 45 aces. The setter had career high of 30 assists at Virginia Tech, which she topped with 48 in her first match with the Owls this season.
TEMPLE PICKED TO FINISH SECOND
Three Temple volleyball players earned American Athletic Conference pre-season honors, while the Owls were picked to finish second in a vote of the leagues' coaches. Temple's three selections -- senior Kirsten Overton
, and juniors Irem Asci
and Izzy Rapacz
, were the most for any American squad.
Temple earned two first-place votes in the coaches' poll, and finished in second place in the final tally with 88 points. The Owls ended last season in second place with a 15-5 conference mark and a 24-8 overall record and return three of their four All-Conference selections from 2015.
TWO TEMPLE MATCHES TO AIR ON AMERICAN DIGITAL NETWORK
Two Temple volleyball matches will be part of the American Digital Network's 18-game fall schedule. The Owls will air live on ADN for matches against UCF (away) and SMU (home). ADN is covering a total of three volleyball matches this fall.
Match Notes (PDF)