The volleyball team is off to a rough start, which is nothing new to coach Bob Bertucci.
To him, the shaky start is just part of the process for building the chemistry needed to guide the Owls through the season.
“It’s the next step for us,” Bertucci said of the 2-5 record. “We usually start a little slow.”
The Owls are coming off a four-game road trip. In Green Bay at the Amerihost Classic, they took two of three matches.
Wednesday against Delaware was very disappointing, according to Bertucci. The team dropped its fifth match of the season in a 3-1 loss.
“If everybody has their best game, we’ll play better,” Bertucci added.
It is going to be difficult for everyone to have their best game as the Owls are still trying to get adjusted to different lineups. Both the lineup and rotation for Temple is still unclear, Bertucci said.
One thing that is clear is the importance of senior outside hitter Zhen Jia Liu. She earned all-tournament team honors at the Amerihost Classic and she recorded a career-high 29 kills. In addition, she earned Atlantic Ten Player of the Week.
“She’s a key factor for our team right now,” Bertucci said. “Mentally she realizes her role on the team is really critical.”
As one of the Owls’ few experienced players, Bertucci is hoping that she can handle the leadership role.
Fellow senior Allison Runk is also doing her best to handle this adversity, according to Bertucci. He hopes Runk continues to elevate her play when things aren’t going well on the court.
“As a 5-foot-1 setter, it’s key for that player to be very consistent,” he added.
Also playing well for the Owls is newcomer Yue Liu. In wins over North Dakota State and host Wisconsin-Green Bay, she led the Owls in kills with 14 and 13 respectively. And at Delaware she recorded 13 kills and 11 digs for her third double-double in just four matches.
Her solid play helped grant her the A-10 Rookie of the Week. Even though she is a freshman, she is proving she can be a key factor to the team’s success.
This weekend the Owls will continue their road trip as they travel to Washington, D.C., to battle the likes of Albany, nationally ranked Arizona, and American in the American University Classic.
Three games below .500 and 0-3 at home, the Owls still have a taxing road ahead of them. They play just one home game through the end of the month – a Sept. 28 matchup with Rutgers.
Donnell Jackson can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.