Coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam learned he would have to coach against Campbell University on Sunday night.
Two days later his team faced off against the Camels in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Championship at West Virginia University.
Sleepy and tired, Ganesharatnam stayed up late Sunday night into early Monday morning watching film to game plan for Temple’s first postseason appearance in 15 years. The late-night study session paid off.
The Owls (20-9, 15-5 American Athletic Conference) swept Campbell in the first round of the NIVC on Tuesday. It was the first postseason win for Ganesharatnam as a head coach and the first time Temple has won a postseason contest since 2002.
“We had to rush and work extra hours to do the scouting report, but that comes with postseason play,” Ganesharatnam said. “I think it’s a great accomplishment for this team and the program to get the first postseason win in 15 years. I’m very proud of their performance.”
Ganesharatnam said the team did a great job of executing the scouting report and sticking to the game plan. By beating the Camels, the Owls advance to the second round of the NIVC to face West Virginia University.
Temple hit 31.6 percent as a team and had a balanced attack. All but three players scored a kill for Temple, and 11 of the 12 players who played contributed a point against Campbell.
Junior middle blocker Iva Deak had 10 kills to lead the team and added four blocks. Deak swung for 15 total attacks and had no errors. She finished with a 66.7 hitting percentage.
“Iva has been playing really well in the past two or three weeks,” Ganesharatnam said. “I think we did a really good job of controlling the ball on our side, which really allowed Kyra to get Iva in position to score. Iva has been really shining the last few weeks so I’m really happy about that…but again, it goes back to multiple components coming together.”
Senior setter Kyra Coundourides had a game-high 30 assists and three service aces. Coundourides also contributed seven digs and two blocks against the Camels.
Junior libero Mia Heirakuji led the Owls defensively. She had 13 digs and scored a service ace. Temple controlled the net and out-blocked Campbell, 13-2. Senior outside hitter Izzy Rapacz and senior middle blocker Janine Simmons each assisted on five blocks for the Owls.
Temple held Campbell to a negative 4.4 hitting percentage. It was the lowest percentage a Temple opponent has hit and the second time this season Temple has held a team to a hitting percentage below zero.
Wednesday’s match against West Virginia will start at 6 p.m.Ganesharatnam spent five years as an assistant for the Mountaineers and said he is excited to coach against his former team in postseason play. Ganesharatnam stressed, however, that the match will be strictly business.
“I’m going to see a lot of friends,” Ganesharatnam said. “Even though…I’m going to say hi to them before the match, and possibly after the match, we’re here to compete for some wins.”