Owls defeated in first conference game

Temple University volleyball lost 3-1 on Friday night to Southern Methodist University, their first conference opponent of the season.

Kayla Spells, a sophomore mid-blocker, leaps to hit the ball over the net during the Owls' match against Long Island University at McGonigle Hall on Sept. 4. | AMBER RITSON / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University volleyball (4-8,0-1 The American Athletic Conference) lost to Southern Methodist University (6-6, 2-0 AAC) 3-1 on Friday night in their first conference game this season. 

The Mustangs led the first set with an 8-2 run, but a kill by sophomore middle blocker Kayla Spells changed the Owls’ dynamic. Keeping their energy high, the Owls went on to win the first set 25-23. 

“We started out slow, and then obviously we came together, and made some good plays,” said head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam. “The execution level went up.” 

Redshirt-junior right side Peyton Boyd was back in action Friday night for one of the first times since suffering a significant injury last year. 

“Peyton did a really good job for us,” Ganesharatnam said. “This was probably her first match playing a bigger role.” 

As the game progressed, the Owls lost momentum and made multiple service errors, which allowed the Mustangs to take the lead in the following three sets with scores of 25-18, 25-22 and 25-19. 

“The second set, we didn’t play clean,” Ganesharatnam said. “We made a lot of unforced errors. I believe we had four serving errors, which really didn’t allow us to get good production.” 

Graduate student outside hitter Miray Bolukbasi led the Owls with 14 kills for the night. 

Despite the loss, Ganesharatnam thinks the work the Owls have put in toward practicing their blocking and defense is paying off, he said.

“I thought the whole team did a good job with their energy,” Ganesharatnam said. “I think that at times the energy was a little overbearing.”

The Owls will take on the University of Memphis (7-6, 0-1 AAC), their second conference opponent this season, on Sept. 26 at 2 p.m in Memphis, Tennessee. 

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