After scoring its first conference win of the season on Sunday against East Carolina, Temple fell back below the .500 mark in American Athletic Conference play Friday night, losing 3-0 to the University of Central Florida.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair. After 23 total points had been played, Temple trailed the Knights, 12-11. But, Central Florida closed the set on a 13-6 run to take it 25-17.
“I think that really set the tone for the rest of the match,” coach Bakeer Ganes said of the UCF run to take the first set.
Temple held a 14-10 lead in the next set, before the Knights stormed back to win it, 25-17. Ganes felt his team missed a big opportunity to level the match with that second set.
“We should really take care of that lead and not give it away,” Ganes said.
The Owls would go on to drop the third set, 25-16, a set that Central Florida seemed to control the whole way. Gaines said the missed opportunities that hampered the Owls through the first two sets were a sign that the team is still enduring growing pains, having lost Gabby Matautia and Elyse Burkett, two of its best players from a year ago.
However, while it was the team’s second setback in conference play, Ganes said the loss wasn’t as lopsided as the Owls’ 3-0 defeat to Connecticut in the conference opener on Sept. 24
“I was not happy after UConn because we played very poorly,” Ganes said. “Against UCF it was a different situation. We actually executed okay in certain aspects but not okay in other aspects.”
Moving forward, Ganes said he wants to see the team playing more even-keeled and capitalize in critical mid-set moments.
“The theme tonight was lack of consistency,” he said.
Temple is next in action on Sunday when it takes on the University of South Florida.
Greg Frank can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @g_frank6.