Temple defeated South Florida 3-0 in its American Athletic Conference opener Friday at the Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida.
Coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said the middle blockers did their job, as the Owls (10-3, 1-0) collected seven blocks, including four from junior middle blocker Kristen Overton, and limited South Florida to 37 kills.
“We really used our game plan which was attack them with all the fundamentals like transitions,” Ganesharatnam said. “The middles did a tremendous job against one of our toughest opponents so far.”
In the opening set—which had one lead change—the Owls earned 15 kills and won 25-17.
In the second set, Temple continued its defensive play with 11 digs. On the final play of the set, sophomore outside hitter Irem Asci jumped to the left side of the net and tipped the ball in the middle of two South Florida players for a 25-14 win.
After going down 12-17 in the final set, Ganesharatnam called a timeout to help his team regain its focus.
“We just wanted to focus on us,” Ganesharatnam said. “Getting back to the basics, focusing on serve receive and our plan was to put pressure on South Florida and by doing that we could take back that set.”
Following the timeout,Temple tied the set at 20, forcing a timeout from the Bulls. The Owls concluded the match when senior setter Sandra Sydlik set the ball to Asci, who earned her 10th kill of the night in the Owls’ 25-13 victory.
“I thought we executed at a high quality, even when we were down in the third set, we really felt confident we could make it up and find ourselves in a position to get back the set,” Ganesharatnam said. “We were hoping to stick to being aggressive and luckily that happened.”
Ganesharatnam said he was pleased with the effort from his team in their first conference game of the season.
“Well this was just one match so far,” Ganesharatnam said. “We’ve got to take it day-by-day and enjoy this for tonight and refocus on Central Florida.”
Connor Northrup can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org