Here’s a trick question.
Can you name the only campus sport to win two or more consecutive conference championships?
Men’s basketball is probably the consensus pick. But rising NBA star and former Rhode Island power forward Lamar Odom “clipped” the Owls with a buzzer-beating three-pointer in the 1999 Atlantic 10 finals down at the Spectrum.
Lacrosse is also a solid selection. The Owls have excelled in the Atlantic 10 since its inception two years ago but have fallen just short both years, losing in the championship game two years in a row.
As far as the Temple football team winning the Big East two years in a row, (insert joke here).
Now that you are out of guesses, you ought to know that Temple’s volleyball team has quietly become one of the most dominating programs on North Broad in recent years. The team captured its third consecutive A-10 championship over Rhode Island last November before losing to a tough Baylor squad in the first round of the 1999 NCAA Tournament.
The first-round defeat serves as motivation for this year’s team. The 2000 Owls are striving to not only win the A-10, but also to compete deep into the Big Dance.
Head coach Bob Bertucci is entering his 22nd year in coaching, and his sixth with the Owls. He has amassed over 460 wins in his career while leading Temple to a 25-6 record (16-2 in the conference) in 1999.
The team returns 10 of 15 players from last year’s A-10 championship team, and five of seven starters.
The return of All-American candidate, and A-10 Player of the Year, Alma Kovaci is a big reason why the Owls will soar in 2000. The 5-10 senior was an honorable mention selection to the Asics All-American team last season, while earning All-District honors for the second-straight year.
Seniors Brandy Best and assist specialist Teresa Schumacher should also provide solid support for Kovaci. Opposing teams will devise their game plan around stopping Kovaci, which should open up opportunities for other players.
It will be important for both seniors to take advantage of their opportunities, and provide stability to a team with eight underclassmen on their roster, five of who are freshmen.
The Owls had a hot start to their season winning two of three games in the Temple Tournament, but a swing down the California coast cooled them off considerably.
The team is currently in the midst of a brutal road trip that included a pair of 3-1 losses to Long Beach State, the second ranked team in the nation, and ninth-ranked Pepperdine.
Temple will wrap up their non-conference schedule this weekend with Rocky Mountain matches with Utah and Brigham Young University.
Temple opens up its A-10 season Sept. 20 at George Washington.
The Owls, who play all their home matches at McGonigle Hall, next play host to the Dayton Flyers on Friday, Sept. 29 at 7:00 p.m.
Dayton, incidentally, is a late-season destination for Temple, as the Flyers will play host to what the Owls hope will be their fourth straight A-10 tournament championship Nov. 18-19.