In trying to build a national reputation, the volleyball club found its platform last weekend at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.
While there, at the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association championship tournament, the Owls won four of their nine matches. It was their second-ever trip to the NIRSA tournament.The final rankings have not yet been announced, but senior setter Alex Mobarak said he believes the Owls earned a higher national finish than last year’s 13th place showing at Salt Lake City.
The Owls opened pool play Thursday by losing two of three matches. After winning their first match Friday, the Owls fell in their final two. Wins in either of them could have re-entered the Owls in the running for the national crown.Ultimately, the Owls were sent packing with Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“I’m pleased with how we did,” Mobarak said. “We won a quarterfinal game in the Silver Division, which is better than we did last year. But I thought we had the makings of a top 10 team.”
Of course, he said, he would’ve liked for the Owls to have won the national
championship. The road to the title, however, was mired by losses in matches in which the Owls had won the first of three games.
“That was pretty deflating – knowing we could hang with a team and possibly beat them, then only to lose,” Mobarak said.
In an effort to distinguish itself among Temple’s other 16 club sport teams, the volleyball club reached several milestones this season. It achieved a program-high 11 wins between its regular season and the Mid-Atlantic Club Volleyball Conference tournament.
The Owls were runners-up in the MACVC tournament, bowing out to a nationally-ranked Messiah team they had upset during the regular season. Second place marked their highest finish since joining the conference in 2004. In their two prior seasons at the MACVC tourney, the Owls had placed fifth on both occasions.
The prospects for the volleyball club next season remain promising, Mobarak said, as only two of their 13 players are seniors. He and fellow senior Aaron Pagoda will graduate in May.
“I think we’ve established a pretty solid club and we have some guys who can keep it going successfully for another three years,” said Mobarak, the club’s founder. “There’s a lot of potential there.”
Christopher A. Vito can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.