Owls win first conference game of season

Temple University defeated the University of South Florida 3-2 Friday night.

Chelci Banks, a freshmen middle blocker, jumps to hit the ball over the net during the Owls' game against the University of South Florida at McGonigal Hall on Oct. 15. | KAITLYN JEFFREY / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University volleyball (5-13, 1-6 The American Athletic Conference) won 3-2 in Friday’s match against the University of South Florida (6-13, 0-8 The American). 

Despite the close score, the Owls earned their first conference win of the season by consistently pressuring the Bulls on offense.  

“Being in a situation like we were, where we were pretty much desperate for a positive outcome, it’s huge,” said head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam. “You can’t replace a win in the situation we were in, so I can’t downplay this. This is huge for us, and gives us an opportunity to build on and move forward in a positive way.”

Along with extra practice time this week, Temple’s effective use of communication, energy and confidence helped them play a proactive game, Ganesharatnam added. 

The Bulls got an early lead in the first set after two kills made the score 5-1, ultimately winning 25-21. In the second set, an early ace by freshman defensive specialist Alexis Williams gave the Bulls a 9-3, carrying them to a 25-22 win. 

However, the Owls changed the momentum in the last three sets, where they gained early leads and set up attack errors against the Bulls, winning 25-22, 25-19 and 15-13. 

“For us, I really dont think it’s the question of x’s and o’s, it’s the question of skills,” Ganesharatnam said. “We had competitions for warm ups, competitions for serving drills. Everything we did we made about competition.” 

The Owls proved they wanted to win, even after the Bulls attempted to disrupt the Owls’ offensive by putting some extra pressure on junior outside hitter Gem Grimshaw. 

Grimshaw led the Owls with 18 kills. Freshman middle blocker Chelci Banks served up seven blocks and helped carry the energy on the court when the Owls were down. 

“This is the blueprint of our program and [Banks] embodies that,” Ganesharatnam said. “So, we’re very happy that she is here, and she is going to be a major part of our program.” 

Temple will take on the University of Central Florida (13-6, 6-1 The American) on Sunday at 1 p.m. at McGonigle Hall.

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