Temple volleyball’s (10-9, 1-7 The American Athletic Conference) season has been split between two opposite runs — a program best 9-0 start followed by a six-match losing streak.
The team has avoided being swept up in these highs and lows by not dwelling on just the good or bad aspects of matches, coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said.
“One of the things is really making sure the focus is not just on wins and losses,” Ganesharatnam said. “The focus is on building the team, getting better in different aspects, becoming a team, and improving as individual players and as a team.”
The Owls’ losing streak started on the road against Villanova (14-6, 5-3 The Big East) on Sept. 17. The Owls then lost their first four conference matchups of the season against South Florida on Sept. 27, Central Florida on Sept. 29, Connecticut on Oct. 4. and Houston on Oct. 6.
The Owls were held without a single set victory against the Bulls (7-15, 1-7 The AAC) and the Knights (14-6, 7-1 The AAC). Temple won one set against the Huskies (8-12, 2-6 The AAC) and then pushed the Cougars (13-10, 7-1 The AAC) to five sets.
Since their loss against the Wildcats, Temple has lost nine of their last 10 games with its only victory coming against East Carolina (15-6, 3-5 The AAC) on Oct. 11.
“We always try and see both positives and negatives out of it,” junior middle hitter Baleigh Jean-Philippe said. “Like what we could have improved or what we did well, and try and either do better with the next match or keep that same mentality if it’s something good.”
Ganesharatnam believes the pressure that comes with playing conference matches is a factor in the teams’ losing streak, he said.
“Now, conference play, every win, every set, every point is worth double, so that really puts a whole different mental pressure on you,” he added. “So it’s not so much the volleyball quality that increased, it’s just the pressure that increased.”
Senior outside hitter Dana Westfield knows the team has not met expectations since the start of conference play, she said.
“We take a lot of time and reflect on it as a team, in smaller groups or even individually,” Westfield added. “We know we need to keep working on something when we’re doing well or when we’re not doing well still acknowledging the stuff that we are succeeding at.”
Temple is tied for last place in the Eastern Division of the AAC. The top six teams in the conference will participate in a single-elimination tournament on Nov. 22-24.
“I think this team is very stable, very strong characters,” Ganesharatnam said. “Those are some of the aspects that really helped us not to get too carried away when we were winning nine in a row, but also those same attributes not to get too worried when we were losing six in a row.”
Temple’s next matchup will be at home against Tulsa (12-9, 5-3 The AAC)on Friday.