Despite season-best mark, Owls fall to Penn

Alexis Arena and Kerry Arone led the Owls in a losing effort Saturday.

Coach Aaron Murphy was not going to let Saturday’s final score get in the way of his team’s performance. The Owls fell to the University of Pennsylvania in a dual meet, 192.475-192.150.

Saturday against the Quakers marked the first time in the 2015 season that Temple scored more than 190, the mark Murphy said he wants his team to hit in each meet. While the Owls came up short, Murphy was pleased with his team’s performance.

“To be honest, it didn’t sting,” Murphy said of the scoreline. “This team really surpassed my expectations today.”

The Owls’ best event on Saturday afternoon was the uneven bars, as Temple finished with a score of 48.150. This was nearly a three-point improvement from Temple’s 45.525 score on the bars in its last meet at the University of New Hampshire.

Freshman Kerry Arone led the way for Temple in the event, posting a score of 9.850. However, after the meet, she said she was striving for more.

“I want to do that routine, and better,” Arone said. “I want to score even better than a 9.850.  This is a start.”

The balance beam continued to be a strength for the Owls as well on Saturday afternoon, as Temple scored 48.125 in the event and was led by senior Alexis Arena’s 9.850.

While the Owls did not get the victory, there was a growing confidence after the meet that the team is headed in the right direction. Arena said Saturday can be a springboard into the rest of the season after a rough start in a loss in a dual meet at Eastern Michigan and a last-place finish at the George Washington Invitational.

“I think the team is only going to go up from here,” Arena said. “I think we’re really behind each other at this point, even though we had a few bumps in the road early in the season.”

Penn coach John Ceralde is a close friend of Murphy’s and after the meet, Murphy said both teams were mutually respectful of the effort put forth by the opposition.

“When the meet’s all said and done, we’re going to be high-fiving and celebrating for each other,” Murphy said.

The Owls (1-3) will see Penn again next weekend in the Ken Anderson Memorial Invitational at McGonigle Hall.

Greg Frank can be reached at or on Twitter @g_frank6.

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