Volleyball named Big 5 tournament champion

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

Volleyball set for Big 5 Tournament

After bouncing back to win the last two games of the South Carolina Invitational last weekend and salvaging a 2-2 record before its return home, the volleyball team will participate in the annual Big 5 Tournament at the Palestra this weekend.
The Owls dropped two out of three in this same tournament last season, losing to Penn 1-3, Villanova 0-3 and beating La Salle 3-1. They will have a chance to play the same three teams, Penn on Friday night at 7 p.m., and Villanova and La Salle Saturday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.
Penn has yet to play a match this season while La Salle is 1-3 with their lone win coming against Niagara. Villanova is 2-1 so far after beating Robert Morris and New Hampshire and losing to Maryland.
Temple started 0-2 but won its last two matches to get to .500. They’ve been led by junior Elyse Burkert, with 54 kills, on offense. She has been aided by sophomore Tiffany Connatser, who leads the team with 123 assists. Senior Chelsea Tupuola and junior Gabriella Matautia have led the defensive effort with 46 and 37 digs, respectively.
-Brandon Stoneburg

Volleyball loses first game of season

With the first set, spike and dig, the 2012 season was under way this afternoon for the Owls’ volleyball team at the South Carolina Gamecock invitational.

South Carolina handed the Owls their first loss of the season in easy fashion. Temple lost in straight sets 25-14, 25-15, 25-18.

Junior Gabriella Matautia led the attack for Temple with 10 kills, while sophomore Tiffany Connatser added 23 assists in the losing effort. Senior Chelsea Tupuola led the team with 12 digs.

The Owls will have another shot at notching their first win later today at 5:30 against East Tennessee State.

-Brandon Stoneburg