The volleyball team will host two American Athletic Conference matches this weekend, as the Owls take on Houston on Friday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m., and then face SMU on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.
“Both matches this weekend are going to be exciting and very competitive matches,” coach Bakeer Ganes said. “Two excellent teams are coming. Houston and SMU are both 3-1 in the conference. Both teams are very physical, physically gifted in many ways.”
Temple also sits at 3-1 in the conference and 11-4 overall so they want to prove that they belong at the top of this conference. The Owls were picked to finish seventh in the preseason but they are proving that ranking wrong so far this year.
Senior Gabriella Matautia leads the Owls and the entire conference with 4.22 points per set. She is also second in the conference in kills per set with 3.69. Sophomore libero Alyssa Drachslin is the team leader in digs with 4.11 digs/set. Junior middle blocker Jennifer Iacobini leads the team in total blocks with 48, and also leads the team with 18 service aces which rank fourth in the conference.
This is a young Temple team this year with only three seniors on the roster so a few freshmen have been called on to step up and play big time minutes. Caroline Grattan and Tyler Davis are answering that call, as they are both top four on the team in kills with just over 2 kills per set.
Ganes knows it will be a tough task this weekend with Houston and SMU but has confidence in his team.
“We again are going to under sized,” Ganes said. “It’s a great challenge and hopefully the atmosphere the same or even better than what we had against Memphis. We are looking forward to this competition this week. “