Temple suffered its first loss in over a month as the Owls had a five-match win streak broken up by UCF on Friday night. The Knights (14-7, 5-3) defeated Temple (15-5, 6-2) by scores of 27-25, 25-20 and 25-16.
UCF had an impressive defensive showing, recording 54 digs compared to the Owls’ 31. The Knights also stood their ground at the net, blocking thirteen shots to Temple’s eight. Senior Elyse Burkert and junior Jennifer Iacobini both recorded a team high 10 kills for Temple. Sophomore Alyssa Drachslin led Temple with nine digs, and sophomore Sandra Sydlik added five digs and 29 assists.
UCF had two players with double digit kill efforts. DeLaina Sarden had 11 and Ashley Gialenios added 10. Maria Reiterova and Jade Hayes each had a great defensive match as they both recorded 13 digs.
“We made too many unforced errors in the first set, especially on serve receive,” coach Bakeer Ganes said. “We were out of our system and that cost us, especially toward the end of the set which was very tight. UCF did a great job executing at the end. Overall we just didn’t play well and didn’t execute our game plan very well. They did a good job of scouting us…They were able to close down Gabby [Matautia] and we needed others to step up and unfortunately we were not able to do that. UCF had lost a few in a row and they came out really hungry and executed and got this win.”
The first set played evenly until the end where UCF had a couple key blocks to pull ahead. The second set was much of the same. There were six ties but after the final tie at 15-15, the Knights went on a run before eventually closing out with a 25-20 win. Another UCF run hurt the Owls midway through the third set, and a late Temple rally was not enough to close the gap.
Temple stays in the Sunshine State for the weekend and will play South Florida on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 1 p.m.