After Temple defeated South Florida on Friday night in McGonigle Hall, head coach Bakeer Ganes compared junior Sandra Sydlik to both the quarterback on a football team and the point guard on a basketball team.
Sydlik posted her 15th double-double of the season, racking up 39 assists and 10 digs, as the Owls battled back despite a sluggish start to win their seventh straight game in games of 25-23, 25-18 and 25-21.
Ganes stated postgame that Sydlik has been playing at a high level most of the year. She has been one of the catalysts for Temple’s success the entire season.
“She’s like the quarterback in football, or the point guard in basketball,” Ganes said of Sydlik. “She has probably been the most consistent player throughout the season, and she’s playing and executing at a very high level.”
Sydlik’s 15 double-doubles put her in the team lead, eight ahead of freshman Dara Peric, who has seven. She gave her teammates most of the credit for her individual success.
“I think our team chemistry is really good,” Sydlik said. “I’m also really proud of my team, because without them I couldn’t do anything.”
Even though this may have seemed like an easy win on paper, the Owls did struggle at times against the Bulls.
In particular, Sydlik said the Bulls’ serving ability proved a challenge. However, she once again praised her teammates and their ability to adjust.
“Our hitters did a good job, so even if we had a bad pass we could still figure it out,” Sydlik said. “We don’t have one superstar, but rather 16 superstars.”
Coach Ganes pointed out that one of his team’s biggest challenges was dealing with USF’s Erin Fairs. Figuring out how to contain Fairs, the reigning player of the year in the American Athletic Conference, was something Ganes felt was crucial.
“[Fairs] is one of the best players probably in the country,” Ganes said. “When you have an excellent player like that, you’re obviously always going to be a challenge for an opponent to face.”
With the win and another double-double from Sydlik, Temple extended its school-record winning streak to seven games. They moved into sole possession of second place in the conference (19-6, 10-3 The American) and will face off against first-place Central Florida (20-5, 13-0 The American) Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in McGonigle Hall.
Daniel Newhart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.