Temple University volleyball (8-5, 2-4 The American Athletic Conference) split matches against East Carolina University (3-7, 1-7 The American) with a 3-0 loss on Friday and a 3-1 win on Saturday afternoon.
Friday’s match was competitive, with ECU winning each set by five or fewer points. The Owls’ offense struggled with pinning ECU’s hitters. Temple lost the first set 25-20, the second 25-22 and the third 25-20.
“I give East Carolina a lot of credit, but we just didn’t play well,” said head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam after Friday’s game. “We didn’t perform well, we didn’t perform to our ability, and I felt like we deserved better for ourselves but also for everybody else who came and watched us.”
Junior setter Tyler Lindgren and junior outside hitter Gem Grimshaw both played well offensively on Friday despite the team’s loss. Lindgren had 26 assists and 13 digs, while Grimshaw had 14 kills and 11 digs.
Saturday’s match was a much-needed win for the Owls. Temple won the first, second and fourth sets with scores of 25-23, 27-25 and 25-17 respectively while losing the third set 25-16.
Saturday’s win kept Temple’s chance to play in The American Athletic Conference Tournament alive, Ganesharatnam said.
“We still have a chance, and that is where we wanted to be,” he added. “We wanted to go all the way through the season and have a chance to make the tournament possibly all the way to the last weekend, and we have that accomplished and I’m very happy for our team.”
Four players recorded double-doubles in Saturday’s match. Junior outside hitter Miray Bolukbasi led the team in kills with 19 and finished with 13 digs. Senior outside hitter Katerina Papazoglou served up 17 kills and 11 digs, while Grimshaw had 15 kills and 16 digs and Lindgren dished out 53 assists.
Temple’s next game is at home against the University of Cincinnati (6-5, 4-2 The American) on March 26 at 3 p.m.
“I think the off week will be good for us,” Ganesharatnam said. “We can focus on training and staying home and hopefully put ourselves again in a position to compete.”