Freshman Patricia Vernon was the hitting force behind the volleyball team’s two dominating victories over Atlantic Ten Conference opponents last week, and for her efforts she was named A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week.
In the Owls’ back-to-back shutouts of Saint Louis and Duquesne, Vernon posted a .405 hitting average and 3.3 kills per game. Vernon, who is also second on the team in blocking, added 10 blocks in the two matches.
Although she was recruited as a middle blocker, Vernon has been playing right side hitter.
“I’ll play any position,” Vernon said. “I just want to get out on the court as much as I can. I want to make an impact.”
Vernon said it’s the love of the game that motivates her through tough challenges like the change in position.
“I love to play, I wanted to come to Temple to play for Coach [Bertucci],” she said. “He is a great teacher.”
After the victory over Saint Louis, Bertucci praised Vernon for standing up to the Billikens’ big hitters.
“It’s important that she isn’t afraid to do that,” Bertucci said.
Vernon was such a force on the net that Saint Louis coach Anne Kordes called on her defense to specifically stop No. 12 (Vernon) in Temple’s 3-0 sweep.
“It feels really good.” Vernon said of being recognized by the opposition. “It shows how hard I work out there.”
Last week’s back-to-back conference victories give the Owls a 4-1 conference record, 11-8 overall.
Being aggressive at the net has been an important part of Vernon’s game this season. Vernon was the only Owl to post double-digit kills in both games.
In high school, Vernon’s numerous accolades included being named all-state, all-section and all-league, and being chosen as one of the top 25 players in New York. Vernon also holds the Ossining (N.Y.) High School record for most career kills.
Diversity and the chance to learn from veteran teammates brought her to Temple. Vernon said returning the program to the A-10 dominance enjoyed a few years ago isn’t on her mind for now.
“I just want to get out there and play,” she said. “I’m a freshman, so I get to come in brand new.”
Vernon, who shared the weekly award with setter Jenn Welsh of Xavier, said she plans to use the award as a stepping-stone and continue to improve her game.
Danielle K. Milner can be reached at email@example.com.