Defense fuels Temple Volleyball in win over Penn

Written by Greg Frank: @g_frank6

Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Penn for Temple volleyball came on the heels of a strong defensive performance. The Owls had a total of 10 blocks to Penn’s three. Penn’s hitting percentage was .065 in the first set, -.03 in the second set, and third .103.

Playing good defense opened up everything else for Temple. Middle blocker Janine Simmons had three of the 10 blocks and talked about her chemistry with middle blockers Kirsten Overton and Izzy Rapacz.

“We’re just obsessed with getting blocks,” Simmons said.  “It’s a really great thing for the entire team to have that many blocks.”

The Owls collectively hit .212.  Their percentage skyrocketed up in the third set which they won 25-17 and hit .379. While things seemed routine Saturday morning, coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said it wasn’t so simple.

“I think it looked much easier than it was,” Ganesharatnam said.

The defense stood out to Ganesharatnam as well who came away pleased with the way Temple forced Penn into difficult offensive positions.

“We blocked at a very high level,” Ganesharatnam added noting that strong serving made it easier to be in position for blocks.

Saturday’s victory saw Temple improve its record to 8-2. Next weekend the Owls will open American Athletic Conference play with a visits to South Florida and Central Florida.

The Big 5 tournament is a perfect way for the Owls to wrap up their non-conference schedule. Players have noticed the team’s intensity level rises against city rivals and with conference play right around the corner, that’s never a bad thing.

“I think it’s good that we have the ability to see similar teams in the Big 5 that we see every year,” Simmons said. “I think it gives us a good idea of how we stand when we go into conference.”

Temple will wrap up the Big 5 Tournament tonight with a match against Villanova before heading into conference play.

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