It only took three sets for Temple to defeat Houston Friday night.
Temple (17-6, 10-3 American Athletic Conference) is currently in third in the conference standings, one game behind Southern Methodist and Cincinnati. The Cougars are still winless in conference play and have just five wins overall
Temple was down early in the first set, trailing by as much as four when they were down 12-8. Unforced errors played a role in the slow start, Temple had nine errors in the first set. The Owls had eight total errors in the second and third sets.
“We had way too many unforced errors in the first set, and it made it really difficult for us,” coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said. “We had to control those errors towards the end of the set and it we rallied.”
Temple took over midway through the first set scoring six straight points to go up 18-14. After that the set was close till the end both teams got to 25 points. The Owls won two straight points to win the set, 27-25
The second set was the set were Houston committed unforced errors. The Cougars had eight unforced errors in the second set as Temple went on to win the set 25-22.
The Owls scored 14 of the last 19 points to win the third set 25-15 and complete the sweep.
Temple’s defense at the net helped the Owls secure the win. Temple had seven blocks total in the match, while Houston only had four. Junior outside hitter Izzy Rapacz and sophomore middle blocker Iva Deak both finished with three blocks. Junior outside hitter Irem Asci also added two blocks.
“We were aggressive blocking at the net,” Ganesharatnam said. “We worked hard to find solutions playing around the net and make it tough on their hitters, and it helped up win.”
Asci led the team in kills with 14. Senior outside hitter Tyler Davis finished with nine and Rapacz added seven.
Another element of the game where Temple out played Houston was in the service game. Temple had six aces in the three sets, led by junior setter Kyra Coundourides who had three.
“We wanted to put a lot of pressure on their outside hitters in the service game,” Ganesharatnam said. “We picked out players to target for our advantage.”
The next game for the Owls is Sunday against Tulane. Tulane haded the Owls their first conference loss of the season on Sept. 23. Tulane is currently sixth in The American conference standings.
Kevin Schaeffer can be reached at email@example.com or @_kevinschaeffer