Lighting strikes twice for the Temple’s women’s volleyball team.
Less than a week ago, the Owls (27-6, 13-1 A-10) defeated Manhattan College (30-2, 8-1 MAAC) 3-1 in a Nov. 27 scrimmage as a tune-up to the NCAA Tournament.
On Sunday, the NCAA announced that the Owls would again face the Lady Jaspers of Manhattan in the first round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship Tournament this Friday in State College, Pa.
That’s good news for the Owls right?
They’ve beaten this team before. Temple coach Bob Bertucci said that the unexpected rematch has an upside and a downside.
“We’ve seen this team, and we know we can beat them if we execute,” Bertucci said.
“The flip side is they’ve seen us and they know they can beat us if they execute.”
The A-10 coach of the year realizes that Manhattan is a dangerous team for the Owls to play because of their experienced players and their offensive strategy; their 30-2 record reflects that.
However, he has confidence in his team’s ability.
“The thing that I’m happy about, and concerned about is that we play like a team,” Bertucci said. “For us to be successful, we have to play like a team.”
The Owls two returning seniors, Raluca Olteanu, and Solana Lee, are looking forward to this game with great anticipation.
Olteanu, a 5-foot-11-inch outside hitter thinks its weird that they have to play Manhattan again after eating them up for a pre-Thanksgiving Day meal a week ago.
The scrimmage was their idea.
“I think we have a great chance to win because we just played them last week,” Olteanu said.
Lee is also confident, but understands that there are outside factors that may come into play.
“With the new rally scoring system, any team has a chance. But we can win if we keep playing like we’ve been plying,” Lee said.
“We did the exact same thing my freshmen year, so Raluca and I are excited about this game.”
The Owls lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in three consecutive appearances from 1997-1999.
So, what can you expect from the Owls as they take a road trip to Penn State on Friday? Bertucci says you’ll see heart, and tons of it.
“Expect them to play their hearts out for themselves, the team, and the University,” Bertucci said.
“That’s all I can ask of them, and that’s all I will ask of them.”
Calvin Gorrell can be reached at Cgorrell@temple.edu.