Temple’s opening set on Saturday had a familiar look to it.
One day after losing the first set to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the Owls again got off to a slow start, this time in its match against Princeton on the final day of the Temple Invitational volleyball tournament.
Slow start aside, the Owls bounced back to take both the Princeton contest by a 3-2 score, and their later bout with Holy Cross, which the Owls swept in three games en route to winning the tournament.
After losing the first set to the Tigers, 25-19, the team took the next pair of sets by scores of 25-23 and 25-16, respectively. Fans may not have expected the team to get off to such a rocky start in the opening set, but it didn’t come as much of a surprise to coach Bakeer Ganes.
“We have a lot of underclassmen, and we knew going in that they would be nervous,” Ganes said. “Princeton has a physical attack, so a slow start this afternoon was anticipated.”
Despite the Owls’ momentum heading into the fourth set, Princeton rallied late and won, 26-24, forcing a fifth set in which Temple won in a close contest, 16-14.
“Knowing that we came back yesterday after losing the first set gave us a lot of confidence,” junior Alyssa Drachslin said. “We knew the whole game if we came together as a team we could win.”
Drachslin, who earned tournament MVP honors, seemed to be all over the court for the Owls. She had seven of Temple’s 32 digs against Princeton, second-most on the team behind junior Sandra Sydlik.
In its first set with Holy Cross, Temple avoided another shaky start with a 25-14 win.Temple’s second game of the afternoon against Holy Cross was a different story. The Owls avoided another shaky first set, winning 25-14.
Temple breezed through its second and third sets to complete the sweep, winning 25-17 and 25-13, respectively. Drachslin said the team’s narrow defeat of Princeton was the reason the Owls came out ready to attack against Holy Cross.
“The first game helped us get our confidence. In the second game we focused on what we needed to do, not what the other team was doing,” Drachslin said, “When we do what we need to do we can win any game.”
Senior Jennifer Iacobini injured her ankle near the fifth set against Princeton, but Ganes said the injury does not appear to be serious.
The Owls (6-0) will look to stay perfect on the season when they take on Boston College in Brooklyn, New York Sept. 12. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.
Daniel Newhart can be reached at email@example.com.