Long rallies and early aces were key in Temple’s three-set win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Sunday.
The Owls, already tired from a Friday night match against Connecticut, used eleven players in a game that featured dozens of unusually long and hard-fought rallies. These rallies were vital to Temple’s success in the match, as the Owls won most of the points off of them.
“It was not an easy match,” coach Bakeer Ganes said. “Even at home, to play two matches in three days is always tough on your body, and mentally [as well]. But I think as a whole they did a good job. We did rotate the staring lineup a little bit. We gave a lot of new players who haven’t had a lot of opportunities in the past the opportunity to showcase their talent and the progress they’ve made throughout practices.”
Nearly every player scored points in what was very much a team effort. The Temple players were tired at the end of the match, although they had enough energy to hold off a persistent Rutgers team in the third set.
“It was pretty tough, because we just played a hard game on Friday,” said sophomore setter Sandra Sydlik, who played the entire match. “I feel like the Sunday game is always a little bit harder, because we are all tired. But I’m glad we won.”
Serving also played a role in the Owls victory, as Temple notched nine total aces in the first two sets. Sydlik put up the most impressive numbers, getting five in the game. The timing of the serves was important as well – with the first set tied at 12, Sydlik served four aces in a row to give the Owls a substantial lead they never relinquished in the set.
Sydlik gave credit to assistant coach Akiko Hatakeyama for her success at serving.
“We have a strategy, and Akiko is showing which positions we’re supposed to serve [to], so it’s kind of teamwork,” Sydlik said. “So it’s not just me. But I don’t know if it was lucky or—I don’t know.”
Junior Jennifer Iacobini, sophomore Alyssa Drachslin, and freshman Tyler Davis also put up service aces, but Sydlik’s timely contributions drew the most praise from Ganes.
“Sandra is a very skilled player,” Ganes said. “Her basic skills are very good, and one of those is obviously serving. She’s got a really tough serve, and she did a good job serving today, so that really helped us.”
The Owls’ next game will be against the UCF Knights in Florida on Friday, October 25th.
Don McDermott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.