Owls defeat Cougars

Temple improves to 3-1 in conference play.

The Owls beat the Houston Cougars 3-1 in American Athletic Conference action on Friday night.

Temple won by scores of 25-16, 29-27, 19-25 and 25-21 to improve to 12-4 overall and 3-1 in conference play. It was the Owls’ second game in their season long five game homestand and by far the biggest win all season to date.

Temple had a well-balanced attack and one of its best defensive performances of the season. Temple had 10 total blocks and 76 total digs which were both the second most in a four set match. The blocking was led by junior Jennifer Iacobini with a career-high of eight, while Junior Alyssa Drachslin recorded a match-best 27 digs.

“We’ve been working on blocking for a while,” coach Bakeer Ganes said. “And I think today was probably a coming out party for us in that aspect. We had double-digit blocks which is really good for us. We’re undersized and we know that, but we can still do things to slow down the attack of the opponent and I thought we did a good job of that today.”

On the offensive end, freshmen Caroline Grattan and senior Gabriella Matautia led Temple with 14 kills apiece. Sandra Sydlik had a solid match, running the offense nicely with 46 assists and she added 20 digs. Elyse Burkert also was strong for the Owls offense as she had 10 kills.

“I think what worked for us tonight was not letting it affect our mindset that Houston was bigger than us and equally matched,” Grattan said. “We played our own game and focused on our side and what we could do to adjust. We stayed focus on our own skills and on executing what we needed to.”

The Owls will be back in action at home again on Sunday, Oct. 13 against SMU who also is coming into Philadelphia with only one conference loss. Match time is slated for 1 p.m.

Rich Fogel can be reached at rich.fogel@temple.edu or on Twitter@RBFogel26.

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