Temple University volleyball (3-0, 0-0 The American Athletic Conference) shut out Coppin State University (1-1, 0-0 Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference) 3-0 on Friday evening at McGonigle Hall, continuing the Owls’ hot start to the season.
Although the Owls won all three sets, the Eagles’ aggressive defense kept the score close in the first two sets. Temple won the first set 25-22 and the second set 26-24, but they won the third set convincingly 25-19.
“[Coppin State] did a good job on defense, and we were not forceful enough on offense,” said head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam. “It made it really tough to get into a rhythm, and I think once we reduced that a little, it helped us get into a rhythm.”
Once the Owls regained their composure in the first set, their offense grew more consistent. Temple clinched the first set after a kill by junior outside hitter Miray Bolukbasi, which was assisted by junior outside hitter Gem Grimshaw.
“I have very high expectations for [Grimshaw],” Ganesharatnam said. “She is a very talented player, and I think she should be one of our best players on the court everytime she steps on the court. I want her to keep pushing and working hard and keep the expectation on herself high so that she can keep producing and keep getting better.”
Bolukbasi finished the match with 18 kills, four digs and 19.5 points, while Grimshaw finished the match with 17 kills, eight digs and 18 points.
Temple’s freshmen also made solid contributions throughout the game. Freshman middle back Nina-Symone Williams recorded two kills and 2.5 points, while freshman middle back Taylor Davenport recorded five kills, one assist, one dig and six points.
Symone Williams recorded a crucial kill during the first set which pulled within one point of the Eagles. Temple then scored five of the next six points allowing them to take a three point lead.
“Our freshman class is tremendous, one of the best freshman classes we’ve had since I’ve been here at Temple,” Ganesharatnam said. “They’re working really hard, their attitude is really good and they’re very coachable. It makes coaching them and working with them very enjoyable. They want to get better, and because of that, they’re getting better really fast, and we want to reward them if we can.”
The Owls only recorded six assisted blocks and zero solo blocks during the game, which is something the team will work on going forward, Ganesharatnam said.
Junior rightside hitter Peyton Boyed and Davenport finished tied for the team lead with two assisted blocks each.
“We were pretty solid on our serve and speed game, but I think we got to do a better job in blocking,” Ganesharatnam added. “The offense compensated runs. It’s not easy to get the timing right and the location of the block, but the main thing for us was to just keep working on it throughout and keep improving.”
Ultimately, Temple’s inability to consistently block the Eagles didn’t hurt them as they closed the third set out with a kill by Bolukbasi and an attack error by the Eagles.
Temple will take on St. John’s (1-0, 0-0 The Big East) on Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. at McGonigle Hall.