After losing their first match of the season against Seton Hall University (1-0, 0-0 The Big East Conference) in a 3-0 shutout at the Hilton Philadelphia in Penn’s Landing Cherry & White Challenge, the Owls came out firing against the University of Delaware (0-1, 0-0 The Colonial Athletic Conference) to win their first volleyball match of the season.
The first two matches showcased Temple’s highs and lows as a team as head coach Linda Hampton-Keith’s regime was ushered in with two experienced opponents. Both the Pirates and Blue Hens forced the Owls to play their best volleyball, but Temple was able to respond better against the latter through efficient defense.
The Owls were unable to keep up with the Seton Hall Pirates’ explosive offense right out of the gate in the first set. Seton Hall hit at a .32% clip while Temple at a -.037% rate. The Pirates were also able to match their offense with stellar defense as they blocked the Owls’ nine attempts at the net.
The Pirates’ junior Perri Lucas and sophomore Jenna Walsh each recorded 11 kills throughout the match, controlling the play around the net.
Seton Hall won the first set 25-14 and even though the Owls were able to take it down to the wire for the next two sets, they could not stop Seton Hall’s front hitters from taking over the match.
While Temple was not able to get the win against Seton Hall, they would get their chance at a win later that day against the Delaware Blue Hens. Junior outside hitter Jelena Prolic set the tone for the Owls in the win against the University of Delaware with a career-high 19 kills.
The Owls opened up with a 25-20 win in the first set then gave up the next two sets to the Blue Hens. Temple would eventually mount a comeback, from being down 8-14 in the fourth set to winning it in a close one 26-24. The Owls would then go on to close the deal by winning the fifth and final set 15-10.
Temple showed some resilience when they needed it most — a quality Hampton-Keith has preached throughout the offseason by forcing her players to train with maximum energy throughout the entirety of practices. Sophomore Taylor Davenport backed up Prolic, securing another 17 blocks on her own. Davenport was second on the team in kills and points last season behind Prolic.
With this being the team’s first set of games, the Owls showed that they will not be afraid to take chances in the air, while remaining consistent on the ground.
The Owls head to West Point, New York, to face the Kansas Jayhawks (2-0 0-0 Big 12 Conference) in the Army Tournament Sept. 2.