Junior outside hitter Irem Asci shows emotion after every play, whether it be pumping her fists after crushing a ball down the line, throwing her hands up after a close call or looking down at the ground for a few seconds after a service error.
But in a Sept. 28 game against Connecticut, one play meant more for Asci. In the third set of the match, she finished the 1,000th kill of her collegiate career.
More important to Asci was the Owls winning the match. Putting the team first is a quality coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam has noticed from the Ankara, Turkey native.
“She felt great about achieving such an accomplishment,” Ganesharatnam said. “But she is like the rest of the girls on the team, putting the team first. Everyone on the team works hard for each other, and it is good to see the success.”
This is Asci’s second year at Temple. She transferred from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she accumulated her first 383 kills.
Since coming to Temple, Asci has led the team in total kills. As a sophomore, she finished the season with 409, almost 100 more kills than second on the team. This season has been no different. Asci has 278 kills, 90 more than the second place player.
Asci’s 4.41 kills per set ranks No. 19 in Division I. Asci has had career performances this season, notching career highs in kills with 28 against Connecticut on Sept. 28, and digs with 22 against Memphis.
Asci doesn’t believe she deserves all the credit for her start to the season.
“We have two great setters that I like working with,” Asci said. “We also have a great serve receive and having that makes everything easier. But I’ve also spent more time this year scouting other teams myself to see what I can do against them.”
In the end, Asci only has one goal for the season, finishing off the year on top of the American Athletic Conference. And she has done everything she can to help Temple stay near the top of the conference. Her games against Connecticut and Memphis helped Temple win both matches in five sets and put the Owls on a three game winning streak.
Even though Temple plays a tough conference schedule for the rest of the season, Asci is confident in the Owls’ ability to finish the season on top of the standings. She said she thinks the team has a lot of talent.
“Every game we lost this season was close, and I would consider them to be ‘lucky games’ that could’ve gone either way,” Asci said. “Our goal has always been the top, especially after finishing second the last two seasons. And I have a lot of confidence, I think we’re one of the top teams and we just need to work together.”
Kevin Schaeffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.