Houston tops Owls

Temple lost its third American Athletic Conference game Friday 3-2 against Houston at McGonigle Hall.

After the Owls (15-6, 6-3 American Athletic Conference) gained an early 3-1 lead in the fifth set, Houston rallied and took a 7-3 lead. The Owls responded and tied the game at 12, but Houston went on to win the set, 15-13.

“It goes along with how we have been playing all season,” coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said. “We will win a really close game and then we will lose a really close game.”

Going into the fifth and final set, junior outside Caroline Grattan said Ganesharatnam stressed serve receive.

“It is a big part we need to focus on right,” Grattan said. “We need to be picking up serve receive and blocking.”

Temple and Houston exchanged multiple lead changes throughout the first set. Temple trailed 18-20 when coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam called his first timeout of the match.

In the first point after the timeout, sophomore Izzy Rapacz jumped to the top of the net to slam the ball to the court and earn the kill.

Four point later, junior middle blocker Kirsten Overton’s kill gave the Owls a 23-22 lead, forcing a Houston timeout.

After a timeout, Houston won the next three points to take the opening set 25-23.

After trailing 3-1 in second set, Temple earned the next three points to take a 4-3 lead. The Owls then jumped to 17-13 lead as sophomore outside hitter Irem Asci earned a kill, forcing Houston to call a timeout.

After Houston called the timeout, Temple won eight out of the next nine points to take the second set 25-14. Asci finished the set with six of Temple’s 10 kills.

“I think we did a better job on offense in the second set,” Asci said. “We really kept up the tempo,”

In the third set, Houston won 25-22, with the help of a 28 hitting percentage.

In the fourth set, Temple jumped to a 4-0 lead and went on to win the set 24-14. Grattan , who had four of her seven kills in the fourth set, is still adjusting to her role on the team.

“I talked to my coach about this,” Grattan said. “He told me this was going to be one of my roles this year, coming in when I am needed and he said ‘You just have to be solid and play off your wins and how you are doing well.”

Connor Northrup can be reached at connor.northrup@temple.edu

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