The Flyers, who have just one conference loss, defeated the Owls, 3-1, Sunday.
On a day when Philadelphia was the center of the sports’ world’s attention, coach Bob Bertucci and the volleyball team (10-10 overall, 6-5 Atlantic Ten Conference) tried to add to the frenzy. Unfortunately, the Owls dropped their second game in a row, including an upset bid to knock off A-10 powerhouse Dayton (21-3, 10-1) Sunday. The Flyers beat the Owls, 3 games to 1, by scores of 25-13, 25-20, 29-31 and 25-23.
The Owls played their home game at La Salle’s Tom Gola Arena, but the struggles of the day didn’t end there. Temple had to try and solve Flyers redshirt junior outside hitter Lindsay Fletemier.
Fletemier tallied 23 kills and seemed to find a small portion of Owl court every time she touched the ball, as she recorded an attack percentage of .606. Fletemier wasn’t alone, as the most well-rounded team in the conference featured three other players – redshirt freshman outside hitter Rachel Krabacher, junior middleback Becky Novacek and junior outside hitter Amanda Cowdrey – with double-digit kills.
It wasn’t all bad for Temple though, as freshman Danielle Carrozza notched a career game with 19 digs and two service aces. Senior setter and captain Jackie Morrison had herself another double-double with 49 assists and 12 digs. She complemented those statistics with three kills. Junior outside hitter Yun Yi Zhang led both teams with 26 kills.
Although Temple trailed 2 games to 0, the Owls fought back to avoid the sweep. The 31-29 set featured 17 ties and four lead changes, advancing well beyond the 25-point mark.
“Coming back the way we did showed a lot of character,” Bertucci said. “It’s just inconsistency that’s holding us back. We showed that we have the ability to compete with a team like Dayton, but we have to be able to sustain that level of play.”
In the fourth and final set, the Owls eliminated the early errors that plagued them but could only serve as a thorn in Dayton’s side for so long, as the Flyers’ well-rounded attack prevailed.
“We started double-teaming [Fletemier] in the third set, and that limited the number of times she got the ball,” Bertucci said. “We made a good adjustment.”
Bertucci said outside blocking and communication will be keys going into the final stretch of the season.
“We played much better than we did on Friday night, and that was encouraging,” he said. “We started the same [as Friday], but we got ourselves out of it. Hopefully, the girls take away the importance of really competing from the outset.”
The Owls sit sixth in the A-10 standings with games against La Salle and Fordham this week. The Explorers have no conference wins this season, while the Rams are only one loss away from playoff elimination.
Christian Audesirk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.