Temple University volleyball (2-0, 0-0 The American Athletic Conference) won 3-1 against Connecticut (0-1, 0-0 The American) on Saturday afternoon.
The Owls fought hard from the start as the Huskies played aggressively and held the score close for all four sets. Temple lost the first set by a score of 25-17 but struck back and won the final three sets with scores of 25-23, 26-24 and 25-19.
The Owls’ matches against La Salle originally scheduled for Jan. 29 and Jan. 30 were postponed for unknown reasons on Jan. 28, leaving the team with limited time to prepare for new opponent UConn.
“We go into the week with a game plan for the practices to focus on certain things based on matchups of the opposing teams, and we had about one practice to get ready for UConn,” said head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam.
Temple made critical errors early in the second set that allowed the Huskies to make a comeback, Ganesharatnam said.
Temple led 20-13 before the Huskies went on a 9-3 run, cutting the lead down to 23-22.
The Owls bounced back and won the set with a kill from junior right side hitter Peyton Boyd.
“Obviously we’re going to make mistakes, that’s normal,” Ganesharatnam added. “We’re just trying to adapt to the situation as much as possible and stay flexible as much as possible and really, really pay attention to these little things.”
The third set was tied a total of six times, but Temple pulled away after two straight serves from junior setter Tyler Lindgren forced two Huskies errors, allowing the Owls to win by two.
The Owls closed out the fourth set with a 9-3 run capped off with a match-sealing block from Boyd and freshman middle back Nina-Symone Williams.
Junior outside hitter Miray Bolukbasi rose to the occasion and served up eight digs and 23 kills on a 33.3 hitting percentage.
“I’m very happy for Miray, she has been working very hard, this didn’t just happen by accident, and it certainly didn’t happen overnight,” Ganesharatnam said. “She’s putting some extra work in, really getting more stable in that aspect, and as long as she can be consistent, she’s a top player for us.”
Boyd recorded 10 kills and hit a team-high 42.1 percent, while junior outside hitter Gem Grimshaw finished with 12 kills and five digs.
“We have a good group from the bottom to the top when it comes to classes, so I’m happy they were able to stick in there and compete and get this win for them,” Ganesharatnam said.
Temple’s next game is at home against St. John’s (0-0, 0-0 The Big East) on Feb. 6 at 3 p.m.