Temple University Volleyball (6-5, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) opened the Sheraton University City Invitational with a win over Providence College (8-4, 0-0 Big East Conference) in a 3-2 win. The Owls lost their Day 2 opener to George Washington University (6-7, 0-0 Atlantic 10 Conference) but bounced back to defeat the University of Pennsylvania (1-8, 0-0 Ivy League) in a 3-1 set win.
The opener was the Owls’ fourth five-set game of the season. Temple played a strong first set, going back and forth with Providence’s front hitters, but the Owls lost after second outside hitter Shaliyah Rhoden attacked the backcourt to give the Friars the 26-24 victory.
Temple took the second and fourth sets to push the game even to 2-2. Back-to-back service aces from freshman middle hitter Samantha Jo Mikosky pushed the Owls to 17-13 in the fourth set, and they were able to close out the set with a kill from second-year middle hitter Taylor Davenport, his 19th kill out of the 21 she collected in the match to win 25-22.
The Owls beat the Friars 15-11 in the final set to win 3-2, picking up their fifth win of the season and improving to 4-0 in five set games this season. This is Temple’s first win in any tournament he has played in all season.
Temple would continue to play at George Washington University on day two of the tournament, looking to continue his success. The Owls opened up slowly against the Colonials in the first set. They didn’t want to swing and opted to tap the ball over the net instead, giving George Washington the opportunity to return the ball and set up an assist for their hitters to attack. The Colonials reached 0.214% in the first set, compared to 0.029 for the Owls.
The Owls started to turn things around in the second set, hitting 0.391%, a drastic improvement from their first set. They also limited their errors in the second set to 4 against 10 in the first set. They would win the second set 25-16 but it was their only set win of the match. Temple lost the next two sets losing 3-1.
The Owls’ last game was against the University of Pennsylvania, which had struggled all tournament to find momentum. The Owls opened the first set slowly, not wanting to swing on net attempts. Attacking errors also helped them down 13-5 early to start the set. Temple fought back, rallying behind four aces and seven offensive errors from the Quakers. They won the set 25-22.
Jaaliyah Evans was important to the team all weekend and recorded six kills and three blocks in straight sets against the Quakers.
“I think their coaching helps me grow as a player and do well this weekend,” Evans said.
The Owls then closed out the fourth and final set to defeat the Quakers 3-1. Overall, Temple hit 0.125% compared to 0.189% for the Quakers.
“We’re playing the long game here,” Owls head coach Linda Hampton-Keith said. “It’s a long season so we might have to deal with some things along the way.”
The Owls will start the conference game against the Wichita State University Shockers (5-6, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) on September 23 at 8 p.m. in Wichita, Kansas.