Temple University women’s volleyball (11-10, 2-8 The American Athletic Conference) picked up a much needed win on Sunday against Wichita State (6-16, 3-7 The AAC) after losing its last four matches.
The Owls started slowly, falling down 14-9, but a 10-2 run allowed them to take the first set 25-19. The Owls dominated the second set, with the Shockers stringing together just 13 points to Temple’s 25. The third set was the most competitive, when a strong start put the Owls up 17-12, but a 9-4 run by Wichita State evened it up at 21-21. Temple took four of the last six points to finish the set off at 25-23. The win gave the Owls their second conference victory.
“The first five, six points, we didn’t really perform very well,” coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said. “We were kind of slow, sloppy on serve receive, but then we made some really good defensive lays that really kind of helped us. Kind of brought up the whole environment and intensity up, and I think that was kind of like the spark plug of our performance.”
“We had a chip on our shoulder,” senior outside hitter Dana Westfield said. “Now is our chance to start fresh, to do well, to actually prove who we are.”
The Temple offense operated efficiently, posting hitting percentages of .481 and .417 in the second and third sets after scoring under .200 in the first set.
“I think we did a really good job of spreading it out, so everybody was open at a certain point,” Westfield said. “Their blockers didn’t know who was gonna get set. It gave us a lot of freedom to hit a bunch of different places. We were also doing a good job of picking on spots that we knew they weren’t getting.”
Temple had three players in double digits for kills. Sophomore right side hitter Peyton Boyd led the Owls with 15, followed by sophomore outside hitter Miray Bolukbasi with 13. Westfield came off of the bench with 12. Freshman middle blocker Kayla Spells had a match high four blocks, three of which were assisted and one solo.
Freshman opposite hitter Sophia Rohling led the Shockers with 13 kills on a .360 hitting percentage.
“It’s a great morale booster,” Spells said. “We are gonna use this and remember how it felt so that we can try to replicate it in the next games.”
The Owls will travel to Cincinnati (17-5, 9-1 The AAC) this weekend to take on the Bearcats who swept them in their first encounter. The Owls will then play East Carolina (15-8, 3-7 The AAC), the only other conference team they have defeated so far.