Temple Volleyball made history in loss to Penn State

Penn State spoils Temple Volleyball’s first game at The Liacouras Center 3-0.

Temple Volleyball prepares to defend against a Penn State attack in the program's first game at The Liacouras Center. | LILLIAN PRIETO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Volleyball (6-2, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) fell to No. 12 Penn State (4-2, 0-0 Big 10 Conference) 3-0 in the first volleyball game played at the Liacouras Center. 

Nearly 2,500 fans packed the seats at The Liacouras Center to support the Owls, but they were no match for the nationally-ranked Nittany Lions. 

“To sit here and see almost 2,500 people in the stands, I try not to get emotional about it, but it is so awesome to see,” said second-year Temple head coach Linda Hampton-Keith. “To know that, not just for Temple Volleyball specifically, but we can do this kind of a thing, hopefully, it’s just a small glimpse into a really bright future for Temple Volleyball here.”

Temple struggled to keep up with Penn State from the beginning of the game. Temple’s back row defense particularly struggled, allowing 46 kills from Penn State. 

Penn State opened the game on an 8-1 run in the first set, showing its power in the front row. Temple committed multiple errors from the service line and on defense. 

However, the Owls fought back putting their best effort on the floor. They went on multiple rallies, dove after balls and emphasized their communication. 

“We tried to focus on how good of volleyball we were playing,” said Temple outside hitter and former AAC Offensive Player of the Week Taylor Davenport. “Even though we didn’t get the outcome we wanted and we didn’t play at the level that we wanted to, the way we trust ourselves, the way we believe in ourselves, that skill can transfer into Princeton and into conference play or wherever else we go.” 

Penn State ended up with a 23-8 lead and closed the first set 25-9 after a kill by middle blocker Allie Holland. She finished the game with an efficient eight kills on 19 attacks and added five block assists. 

Temple opened up the second set on a much better note, keeping pace with Penn State by finding the floor on multiple opportunities. However, Penn State went on an 8-2 run to take a commanding 14-7 lead. 

The back row for Temple fatigued midway through the second set, unable to close the middle of the floor. Penn State’s front row hitters took advantage, finding the ground throughout the rest of the second set. 

Penn State closed the second set 25-15 and led the game 2-0 heading into the third. The energy in the stands from Temple fans was still high, but the team seemed defeated towards the end of the second set. 

The third set was an opportunity for Temple to show some fight down 2-0 in the game. The team came out energized, holding its own in the first rallies of the set and even taking its first lead of the game 3-2. Temple continued to fight, keeping the game close through the middle of the third set, but Penn State climbed to a 15-9 lead before the media timeout. 

The Owls took back some momentum, pushing past Penn State late in the third set to take a 25-24 lead. However, Penn State scored three straight points to close out set three 27-25 and the game 3-0. 

Although the Owls fought back, their execution was not at the level they had hoped. Temple hit .051 percent throughout the entire match and allowed Penn State to hit .314 percent across the match. 

Despite the loss, Hampton-Keith feels confident about her roster as the Owls move further into the season. 

“We can step on the floor with anyone and compete,” Hampton-Keith said. “We were thinking, ‘Just compete, compete,’ and when you do that, you kind of let go and you let it roll and let it rip. Taking that confidence into the rest of the season is going to be invaluable.”

The Owls look to bounce back from a disappointing loss when they face Princeton (2-3, 0-0 Ivy League) on Sept. 13th at 6 p.m.

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