The Owls won 3-1 in its first-ever American Athletic Conference match at Cincinnati on Friday night. Temple (10-3, 1-0) got double-doubles from seniors Elyse Burkert and Gabriella Matautia, along with sophomore Sandra Sydlik.
Temple beat Cincinnati (0-13, 0-1) by scores of 25-22, 17-25, 25-20 and 25-23.
The Owls have struggled on the road at times during the past few seasons, and to start conference play on the road in a tough venue was a big test for the Owls.
“It’s unbelievable,” coach Bakeer Ganes said. “This place is not easy to play at, regardless of the record of the other team. It’s a great volleyball venue. Cincinnati has a rich tradition and a long history of success. They have a big crowd and a hostile crowd, and it feels great to be able to win here.
Burkert returned tonight from an abdominal injury which sidelined her for the past six matches. She made her presence known with a match-high 17 kills along with 17 digs.
“It felt good to be back on the court,” Burkert said. “I have been waiting a while to get back. I am not quite back to normal yet, but my ab is feeling good. We really played as a team. We had a lot of energy and were very determined to get this win.”
“I think she feels really good right now,” Ganes said. “Not just because she played well and we won. When she is healthy she provides so much for our team as a leader and I am really happy for her. “
Sydlik recorded 13 digs to go with 39 assists, and sophomore Alyssa Drachslin tallied 16 digs for Temple. Tyler Davis put up nine kills, and freshman Kirsten Overton led the Owls with five blocks.
The Owls will be back in action on Sunday at preseason conference favorite Louisville, playing a Cardinals team that put up a 30-4 record last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.