Volleyball coach resigns following final loss, after 16 years of spikes

Coach Bob Bertucci steps down after the team’s 4-25 season.

After 16 years of coaching and a 4-25 record this season, volleyball coach Bob Bertucci informed his team in the locker room that he would resign his position on Sunday.

“I let them know that effective today [Nov. 14]  I’m resigning,” Bertucci said. “I’ve had great years here. We’ve had a lot of fun and success over the years, but this season was tough, and I want to let the girls have a fresh start.”

After the team honored its five seniors before the final home game of their careers, Temple lost three straight sets, 25-22, 25-16 and 25-13, to end the season at 4-25 overall and 1-14 in Atlantic Ten Conference play.

Fordham jumped out to an early lead in the first set, pushing the lead to 13-6 thanks to the team’s blocking along the front line as Temple struggled to get kills. But Temple made a rally, as its seniors brought the energy level up, trying to end the season on a good note. The Owls brought it to 22-21, but that was as close as it would get. Led by junior outside hitter Brittany Daulton, who had six kills in the first set, Fordham put it away, 25-22.

The Owls’ surge was too little, too late.

“We lost a little composure after that first set,” senior outside hitter Ashley Carr said. “It seemed like our whole season caught up with us today because we tried hard and had the effort, but we still lost. It’s been like that all season, and the losing takes a lot out of you. It’s been difficult to keep going, but we kept putting the work in.”

Bertucci said losing the first set on such an emotional day for the seniors, and the entire team, set the tone for the rest of the matches, as the team seemed to lose its energy and composure.

“It was a tough loss in the first set,” Bertucci said. “I was disappointed we lost like that. We just didn’t put any pressure on them, and it’s tough to come back from the early deficits in every set. Our inexperience makes them tentative, and we wait[ed] and [got] off to slow starts.”

That proved true in the second set. The Rams jumped out to an early 10-3 lead and never looked back, as the Owls failed to cut the lead down to less than seven points for the rest of the set. Daulton continued to impress for Fordham, adding another six kills in the second set.

The third set didn’t provide any relief for Temple, and the tumultuous season came to an end with a 25-13 loss. Bertucci admitted the team was expecting a tough season but said he hoped for a little more.

Daulton led the Rams with 14 total kills and freshman Maria Rodenberg led them with 21 digs. Carr led Temple with eight kills, and senior Ariel Pierre led the team with 13 digs.

“It was a tough way to end it,” Bertucci said. “But you have to give credit to Fordham. They’re a great team, and I thought [Daulton] and [sophomore middle hitter Randi Ewing] played great. There was points where they just dominated.”

The postgame announcement of his resignation came as a surprise to the team, players said.

“It was a complete shock to us,” Carr said. “We had no idea, but it’s really sad because he’s a great guy and a great coach. We feel bad that we had to end the season like that for him.”

Bertucci steps down after an accomplished career. He was named A-10 Coach of the Year three times and led the Owls to 14-straight conference tournaments before this season. His 315 wins at Temple put him atop the rankings of winningest coaches in program history. In his 16 years, Bertucci led the Owls to seven regular season conference titles and four automatic NCAA Tournament bids, including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2002.

Brandon Stoneburg can be reached at brandon.stoneburg@temple.edu.

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