Temple volleyball goes 2-1 at the Black Knight Invitational

Temple went 2-1 in their second tournament of the season against Kansas, Army, and St Francis.

Members of the Temple University Womens' Volleyball team celebrate after scoring during the Owls' game against Princenton University at McGonigle Hall on Sept. 19. | ISAAC SCHEIN / FILE

After losing their first match of the tournament against The University of Kansas (4-0, 0-0 The Big 12 Conference) in a 3-0 shutout at the Black Knight Invitational at West Point, the Owls bounced back with wins against Army West Point (1-5, 0-0 Patriot League) 3-1 and The St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers (2-5, 0-0 Northeast Conference) 3-2. 

The first match was tough for Temple as they struggled to keep up with the Jayhawks offense from their middle hitters attacking the gaps in the back of the defense. However, the Owls played outstanding to outlast the Black Knights and Terriers, pulling through with crucial victories in the Black Knight Invitational. 

The Owls struggled to match the offense of the Jayhawks right out of the gate. Kansas hit at a 0.385 percent rate while Temple could only manage to respond with a 0.057 percent rate. The Jayhawks kept this up throughout the entire match hitting at a .341 percent rate overall through three sets. 

The Jayhawks graduate student  Anezka Szabo and redshirt-freshman Ayah Elnady led the Jayhawks attack with seven kills each. Kansas sophomore Camryn Turner led both teams with 34 assists throughout the game.

Temple was able to improve their offense in the second set to inch closer to victory, but attack errors would keep them from winning in the end. 

Even though Temple was not able to get the win against Kansas, they would have two more games left in the tournament against the Army Black Knights and the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers 

The Owls looked stellar in the first set against the Black Knights, hitting at a .452 percent clip and only committing two errors. Controlling the attack for the Owls was sophomore Taylor Davenport who led both teams with 20 kills for the game. 

The Owls would slow down in the second set, losing 25-13, as the Black Knights started to find their groove on offense. But the Owls would hold on for the next two sets, winning a close third set 29-27 and the fourth set 25-23. 

Sophomore Patrycja Zielinska led Temple with 46 assists. The Owls picked up right where they left off in their game against the Black Knights by commanding the offense and backing it up with a stellar defense in the first set against the Terriers, winning 25-20. 

Temple again would drop the second set against the Terriers, committing eight attack errors in the set and allowing the Terriers to hit at a .243 percent clip while only hitting at a .118 percent clip themselves. The Owls picked it back up in the third set, though, only committing 3 attack errors and raising their hitting percent to .371 percent. They dropped the 4th set in a close one but were able to pick it back up in the fifth and final set to win 3-2. 

Temple showed that they’re able to perform when it matters most. Davenport had her best stretch of games in her career since switching to outside hitter, recording 20 or more kills in back to back games with 27 being her career high in the game against the Terriers. 

“She’s a huge part of our team moving forward,” said head coach Linda Hampton-Keith after the win. “She keeps getting better and keeps gaining experience and gaining confidence. She’s going to be a force to be reckoned with going forward that’s for sure.”

She was backed up by junior Jelena Prolic, who had 16 kills herself and Sophomore Patrycja Zielinska, who had a career high  57 assists and 103 total over the last two games of the tournament. 

This is the second tournament for the Owls under Hampton-Keith and the Owls showed that they will fight to pull out tough wins against their opponents. Hampton-Keith is preaching the resilience of the team moving forward, too. 

“We walk away knowing that we are resilient and we have the ability to dig deep when we need to,” Hampton-Keith said.

The Owls head to Ithaca, New York to face off against the University of Albany Great Danes (0-6, 0-0 America East Conference) on Sept. 9 in the Cornell Tournament. 

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