Even after the volleyball team got off to its best start since 2001, the Owls were still excited to come home and play.
With all of their first nine games on the road it was finally their chance to play in the newly renovated McGonigle Hall, where they hosted the Temple Invitational. Over the off season McGonigle Hall went through a renovation process where a new court was installed with new graphics on the floor. Also newly added were Temple graphics around the gymnasium.
“I think it’s great to be home, we been on the road for the first three weekends and it’s always tough to be on the road,” coach Bakeer Ganes said. “It’s great to be in this nice facility, so we really appreciate it.”
“It’s awesome to feel home, we been waiting all this time for the renovations to be done,” Senior Gabriella Matautia said. “We are just really excited to finally be at home, sleep in our own bed and have home court advantage.”
In the second match of the tournament against Brown, Matautia had a team high 18 kills and 13 digs. For the whole Temple Invitational she had a total of 39 kills and 29 digs. She was named to the Temple Invitational All-Tournament Team in her last home tournament.
“Doing well this season, I think we are going to be awesome as a team, and it is really exciting that it is my senior season,” Matautia said. “I don’t want it to go by too quick.”
Even with Matautia being a senior there is still plenty of talent from the underclassman. Freshman Caroline Grattan had a big impact in her first ever Temple Invitational. In Temple’s three set sweep of Brown she had a total of nine kills and finished the weekend with 23.
“It feels good,” Grattan said. “I think the crowd definitely, especially [Friday] night added to a lot of the energy, so it’s really exciting, kind of nerve-racking to be honest.”
“It feels like very empowering though to know that my coach is confident enough to put me in at our first invitational, first home game and to make sure that I am representing the team well,” Grattan added.
“Caroline has been very consistent for us ever since she started playing for us,” Ganes said. “She doesn’t get rattled up very fast, so she is not playing like a freshman, which is great.”
Temple returns home on Oct. 4th against Memphis in an American Athletic Conference game.
Jonathan Weaver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.