After a draining loss to Villanova in the early game of in the Big 5 tournament on Saturday, the volleyball team defeated La Salle 3-0 in the late game and was named Big 5 tournament champion.
“We know that’s someone that we have to beat,” senior Chelsea Tupuola, who was named tournament MVP, said of La Salle. “Our team has heart, we know that.”
“Because we had such a heartbreaking loss to Villanova, it was really good that we stayed together as a team,” coach Bakeer Ganes said. “We were able to grind it out and beat La Salle in three, because it easily could have gone four, maybe five sets. We were worn out physically and mentally.”
Temple was able to put together runs at crucial points to close out both the first and second sets. In both sets, La Salle took early leads but the Owls were able to respond in both to close each set out, winning the first set 25-22 with a late surge and the second set 25-20.
In the third and final set, Temple wasted no time jumping out to an early lead, and cruised to a 25-12 victory.
“It might have looked easy from here, but it certainly wasn’t down there,” Ganes said. “It was hard work and we knew that going in it was going to be a lot of work”
Tiffany Connaster led the way for the owls with a double-double of 36 assists and 13 digs, while junior Elyse Burkert added 12 kills for the Owls.
“We know La Salle, we played them four times last year, so we’re used to playing them,” Connaster said.
-Kyle Hall and Darius Bartolomei