After beating defending conference champions Central Florida Friday, the Owls looked to sweep the weekend against teams from Florida, taking on South Florida Sunday afternoon.
Temple (20-8, 11-5 American Athletic Conference) beat Southern Florida at McGonigle Hall by a score of 3-0. The win Sunday marked the first time since Oct. 4 that the Owls won back-to-back games.
“Being able to win two conference games in a tough conference is a great accomplishment,“ coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said. “Especially against [Central Florida and Southern Florida], they are great teams.”
Playing disruptive defense was one way the Owls finished off Southern Florida. In the first set the Owls held the Bulls to a 15.2 percent kill rate, more than four percent below their season average. The Owls also forced seven attack errors in the third set, and a total of 14 for the match.
“We were able to use the scouting reports really well, so that helped us a lot during the match,” junior middle blocker Kirsten Overton said. “We knew what they were gonna do, and once they starting adjusting to our defense we adjusted with them. That what really helped us defensively, and that we adjusted fast.”
The Owls also had a strong game offensively. Three different Owls finished with double-digit kills. Junior outside hitters Tyler Davis (13 kills) Caroline Grattan (12 kills) and sophomore outside hitter Izzy Rapacz (14 kills) led the team’s offensive surge.
Ganesharatnam used a set rotation, where he put his players in the spots he thought they would help out the team out best. The Owls have gotten used to the rotation and are able to focus on specific aspects of their game.
“With any sport you have to get into a groove, and in the beginning of the season it was more game by game for who played,” Grattan said. “But [Ganesharatnam] tells us all the time to stay loose and confident, and I think the rotations we’ve had recently have been really working in our favor.”
With the two wins Temple sits in the midst of a five game homestand. The plan for the Owls is to use the home games to gain confidence and stability after a couple weeks on the road.
“We’ve been up and down the last couple of weekends, and I think that has something to do with being on the road a lot,” Grattan said. “Being home and being in your own environment definitely helps you mentally. So I think the next couple of games at home are going to give us some more confidence to succeed.”
Kevin Schaeffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.