Zhang, home court key for volleyball in tournament

Senior outside hitter Jingyu Zhang carried the Owls on Day 1 of the Temple Invitational.

The volleyball team began the Temple Invitational on Friday with a double header, a test of their endurance. At the end of the day, the Owls were able to come out with a 3-1 victory against Central Connecticut State, and a 3-0 sweep against Navy. The Owls started off slow and lost the first set to Central Connecticut, but they were able to bounce back and win the final three, with a comeback in the 4th set after being down 18-13. Leading the way was senior outside hitter Jingyu Zhang, who had her best performance of the year.

With a total of 18 kills and three errors out of 37 attempts, Zhang led the attack for the Owls against Central Connecticut. She contributed defensively with nine digs. In the game against Navy, she had eight kills and four errors out of 22 attempts. This season, Zhang has averaged 1.66 kills and 2.78 digs per set. Coach Bakeer Ganes said he was very pleased with her performance.

“[Zhang] carried a heavy burden for us,” Ganes said. “Even though she is undersized, she has a very high Volleyball IQ and finds ways to score and use the block effectively. I’m glad she was able to step it up and be that person we can rely on.”

Zhang nailed four of the five kills leading into the comeback for the Owls against Central Connecticut in the fourth set. Keeping up this kind of play is very important to the success of the Owls closing out the tournament this weekend, especially in front of their home crowd here on Campus, Zhang said.

“We haven’t played at home in a while,” Zhang said. “We’re at home so I feel like its even more important to do our best for our fans to keep them coming back to support us.”

“Were real excited about finally playing a tournament here at home,” junior outside hitter Gabriella Matautia said. “Especially with such a good crowd here to hype us up.”

Desmond Hester can be reached at desmond.hester@temple.edu.

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