By Drew Bishop
High’s and low’s were on display at McGonigle Hall for the Temple Owls on Thursday as they fell to the USF Bulls in four sets, 25-22, 13-25, 20-25, and 21-25. After getting shut out in its prior three losses, the team was able to clinch the opening set.
The Owls came out aggressively, looking for their first set victory since October 19th. Despite the gap in records between the opponents, Temple came out as the hungrier team. Hustle hero Mia Heirakuji was in peak form, racking up 7 of the Owls’ 20 digs. Her dives to the floor sparked long volleys that were crucial to Temple’s attack. Hannah Vandegrift had her hands all over the starting set victory with 10 assists and 2 digs. Feeding it to Irem Asci and Gem Grimshaw for six kills each, Vandegrift was able to create the largest lead for Temple at 23-18, eventually securing the 25-22 win.
Temple came back to earth in the second set, struggling on offense with a -.026 in the second set. Junior Jac’cara Walker responded well, getting 7 kills in the set on the way to her team’s 25-13 victory. The Owls’ first set chemistry was diminished, and by the time USF went on a 7-0 run to make it 24-11, it was too late to mount a comeback.
The third and fourth sets showcased more competitive battles, but the same energy Temple displayed in the opener was unmatched. Specifically, the 29 errors for the Lady Owls were too steep to overcome in comparison to USF’s 11. The third set was competitive despite the Bulls’ .463 attack, but small runs helped them reach a 25-20 victory. Defensively, USF remained stout, with 13 blocks to Temple’s 4. The fourth set showed resilience for the Owls, but they were unable to collect more than three points in a row, forcing them to trail the Bulls’ for most of the set into a 25-21 loss.
The loss puts Temple at 5-19 (2-10 AAC), prior to their Saturday matchup at home versus the 17-7 UCF Knights.
Photo: Owl Sports
Drew Bishop is a sophomore on-air personality and writer for WHIP Radio. He writes for Temple Volleyball and appears on The Main Event, Stadium Talk, and Temple Talks Philly.