Volleyball sneaks past Tulsa after giving up two-set lead

Senior outside hitter Izzy Rapacz had a career-high 21 digs in Temple’s 3-2 victory against Tulsa in Oklahoma on Saturday.

Senior setter Kyra Coundourides attempts to make a dig during the Owls’ 3-1 loss to East Carolina on Oct. 6 at McGonigle Hall. | MIKE NGUYEN / FILE PHOTO

Temple came back to win in five sets against Southern Methodist on Thursday. Just two days later, the Owls played another five-set match in Tulsa. This time, however, the Owls weren’t the ones on a comeback run. They were the ones who gave up a two-set lead.

Temple (16-8, 12-4 American Athletic Conference) beat Tulsa 3-2 on Saturday. It was the third five-set match the Owls have played in their last four matches. Temple played a total of 18 sets in nine days.

With Temple leading 12-10 in the fifth set, junior middle blocker Iva Deak extended the lead with a kill on an assist from senior setter Kyra Coundourides. Then, Coundourides and senior middle blocker Janine Simmons teamed up for a double block on Tulsa’s freshman outside hitter Emily Hubbard. Hubbard was blocked again on the following play by Coundourides and redshirt freshman outside hitter Dana Westfield.

The late 3-0 run from Temple won the fifth set and the match.

Coundourides had a double-double with 53 assists and 15 digs. She also contributed two blocks in the win.

The Owls were led offensively by Westfield who had a team-high 15 kills. She also had five digs and four blocks.

The most efficient offensive set between both teams was the third set. Although the Owls lost that set, they actually hit a higher percentage than Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane hit 31.1 percent to Temple’s 34.1 percent.

Temple never let Tulsa lead until halfway through the set. The Owls were leading 12-10 when the Golden Hurricane scored three straight. Two kills and a service ace put Tulsa in front by a point.

The set was close throughout until Tulsa went on another 3-0 run and pulled away. With the score knotted up at 22, Tulsa had another series of two kills and a service ace to win the set. There were five ties in the third set.

Other than the third set, most of the match proved to be a defensive battle. Both teams had more than 90 digs and 10 blocks. The Owls had 95 digs to Tulsa’s 93, and out-blocked Tulsa 13-11.

Senior outside hitter Izzy Rapacz led the team with a career-high 21 digs, surpassing the 20 digs she had against Southern Methodist two days prior. Rapacz also had 12 kills and seven blocks against Tulsa.

Neither Temple nor Tulsa hit more than 25 percent either. The Owls ended the match hitting 22.4 percent, while the Golden Hurricane hit just 18.7 percent through five sets.

Temple will return home for its next match after being on the road for the past four matches. The Owls will host Central Florida on Friday at 7 p.m. at McGonigle Hall. The Owls won in five sets in their first meeting earlier this season in Orlando.

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