In the inaugural preseason coach’s vote in the American Athletic Conference, Temple senior captain Gabriella Matautia was named to the All-American Athletic Conference Preseason Team and the Owls were picked to finish seventh in the preseason poll.
Last year as a junior, Matautia was at the top of her game. She received the honor of being selected to the Atlantic 10 First Team and was also named to the A-10 All-Championship Team. She led the Owls with 437 kills, and ranked second in the A-10 overall with 4.05 kills per set. She was a huge part in leading Temple to a 19-11 record, which was eleven more wins than they had in 2011. She was a dominant server, leading the team and all players in the conference with 41 service aces.
Matuatia is proud of her honors last season but knows that she needs to bring the same focus and determination this season to repeat such a great year.
“I want to start out strong this season, help get our team off to a good start, and finish the season at my best,” Matautia said. “We have depth on our team and a lot of new players that bring additional strengths. I think together we have a great chance to compete against these big teams, and better our overall record compared to last year.”
Temple was the seventh-most improved team in NCAA Division I, placing fifth in the Atlantic Ten with a 19-11 record. The Owls were picked to finish 11th of 12 teams in the Atlantic 10 in 2012, but placed fifth with a record of 8-6 to earn the program’s first trip to the A-10 Tournament since 2009.
The favorite in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll is Louisville who put up a dominant 30-4 record in the Big East last season. UCF was picked second, followed by UConn, Cincinnati and USF rounds out the top five. The votes were cast by the league’s 10 head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams.