Volleyball announces fall schedule

Temple’s 2015 schedule is collection of tough conference and non-conference games, giving the Owls a chance to compete with some of the top programs in the country.

Coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said the Owls will be playing the most competitive schedule since his arrival four years ago, in an attempt to raise their Rating Percentage Index.

“We wanted an even stronger non-conference schedule than we did last year,” Ganesharatnam said. “Hopefully it will prepare ourselves for conference play.”

The Owls open up their season with the Temple Invitational on Aug. 28 and 29. Temple will host the University of Oregon, the United States Naval Academy and St. John’s University.

Oregon finished 12th in NCAA RPI in the 2014 season, while advancing to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.

A week later, Temple travels to New Jersey to take on Seton Hall University, Hofstra University and the University of Notre Dame. Hofstra and Seton Hall both earned bids in the NCAA tournament last season.

Temple will host the Cherry and White Challenge on Sept. 11 and 12, where they will play Duquesne University, the University of Montana and Binghamton University. The following week, Temple competes in the Big 5 Tournament with LaSalle University, the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University.

Ganesharatnam said the Owls’ non-conference play will help them prepare to compete in the American Athletic Conference, which Ganesharatnam said is one of the top conferences in the country.

“The conference itself will be much tougher this year than this last year because many of the top teams got stronger this year,” Ganesharatnam said. “RPI wise, the conference is the sixth strongest conference in the country.”

Although The American was competitive in 2014, only Central Florida advanced to the NCAA tournament, losing in the first round.

Temple will host 10 of 20 conference matches. After missing an NCAA tournament bid by a slim margin, Ganesharatnam said the Owls need to make the most of their conference play,

“A lot of programs and a lot of teams are going to be after us,” Ganesharatnam said. “It is a new situation for us, so that is something.”

Owls drop Louisville match

Temple volleyball (10-4, 1-1) lost on Sunday against American Athletic Conference preseason favorite Louisville (6-6, 2-0), in four sets by scores of 25-21, 18-25, 16-25 and 16-25.

The Owls won the first set but couldn’t hold the momentum as they lost the next three. The match had a crowd of 2,565 on hand, the largest crowd Temple has played in front of since hosting Penn State in 2009.

Senior Gabriella Matautia led Temple with 13 kills, while sophomore Alyssa Drachslin was the team leader in digs with 16. Freshman Halle McCullough recorded a team-best five blocks for Temple.

Louisville got a lot of their points on block plays (15.5 on the day) which Temple could not rebound from.

Louisville picked up strength in the second set, as Temple fell behind in each and was unable to close the gaps against the Cardinals who advanced to the NCAA Second Round a season ago and finished at 30-4 overall.

Temple will be back at home next weekend against Memphis on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7:00 p.m.