Owls undefeated to start conference play

After defeating Cincinnati 3-1 Sunday at McGonigle Hall, the Owls are 4-0 in American Athletic Conference play.

The Owls continued their pursuit of an American Athletic Conference title Sunday afternoon against Cincinnati at McGonigle Hall.

Temple defeated the Bearcats 3-1, with the first three sets at McGonigle Hall decided by fewer than six points.

“I think this is a very talented and very good Cincinnati team,“ coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said. “Sometimes the scores don’t justify how tight the game really was. But we are happy to come out of this game with a win.”

The Owls’ (13-3, 4-0 American Athletic Conference) defense compiled 72 digs compared to Cincinnati’s 55.

After falling behind in the first set, the Owls regrouped and won 25-23. In the set, sophomore outside hitter Irem Asci totaled seven kills.

The Owls won the second set 25-19. The team’s offense picked up in the set totaling 17 kills. Sophomore middle blocker Janine Simmonds ended the set with a spike to put the team up 2-0.

In the third set, the Bearcats had their best offensive set, with a kill rate of 23.8 percent. Cincinnati won the set 25-23.

Asci took over in the fourth set. She finished with eight kills in the last frame, bringing her match total to 25. Along with Asci, sophomore outside hitter Izzy Rapacz ignite multiple runs and the Owls defeated the Bearcats 25-16.

“I was able to get more kills from the back row,” Asci said. “So that’s something that we kept at. [Senior setter Sandra Sydlik] kept setting me in the right spot.”

Sydlik orchestrated the Owls’ offense with her passing. Her 50 assists were more than the Bearcats’ team total of 46.

The Owls have won 12 of the 13 sets they have played in conference play, jumping out to a 4-0 start.

“I think it’s a big accomplishment to start out 4-0 in conference,” Asci said. “But we play 20 conference games so the goal is to be 20-0.”

Kevin Schaeffer can be reached at kevin.schaeffer@temple.edu.

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