Owls drop 18 matches in unconventional tournament

Temple remains confident despite its showing at Cissie Leary Invitational.

After her doubles victory at the Cissie Leary Invitational with sophomore Rebecca Breland on Sunday, sophomore Maame Ama Osei said she’s only getting started.

“That was a warm up,” Osei said. “You’ll be hearing more YMA&B. Young Money, Ama and Becky.”

Although Osei was the only one who mentioned a hip-hop record label, her confidence has spread throughout the team, despite the Owls winning six of 24 matches throughout the tournament last weekend.

Coach Steve Mauro, said the team is not up to full strength yet.

“We still have a couple of players that weren’t here that hopefully will be in the lineup,” Mauro said. “[Freshman] Sara Pilic and [sophomore] Cristina Grimaldi, we haven’t seen [freshman Minami Okajima] so I think with the addition of those three to six that were here today, I think that we should be pretty strong.”

The Cissie Leary Invitational, like most fall tournaments, is a back draw tournament, meaning that all the athletes are put into a 128-player bracket. Fall tournaments do not count toward a team’s record, but they do count toward the individual player’s record.

There were no set times for the matches other than the start time. As courts opened up, the athletes were called to certain courts to play matches. Mauro said the schedule hindered the athletes.

“This tournament is really confusing,” Mauro said. “No one knows what’s going on.”

Many of the tournaments that Temple competes in have a unique scoring system. Instead of having officials at every match, they have a few that wander around and monitor the courts. For the most part, the players keep track of the score and make their own calls.

Osei said she thought the Owls were being taken advantage of.

“I believe that a lot of these girls, they have this preconceived notion about Temple, about us that we’re cheaters or something like that,” Osei said. “They try to call the shots before we can. They’re calling all the scores. They’re just trying to take advantage.”

“[It’s happened] too many times,” she added. “And I’m only a sophomore.”

However, Mauro said the scoring is done fairly.

“For the most part they do a good job, but it’s tough to call your own [matches],” he said. “Sometimes the officials are here, so overall our girls do a good job of making the correct call. Overall, I’m not really concerned about the line calls.”

Mauro said teams especially don’t like losing to Temple, compared to other teams.

“I just feel that people don’t expect to lose to us,” Mauro said. “When they do lose, they always have excuses, so they do take us a little bit for granted.”

Despite the controversy at the Cissie Leary Invitational, junior Jordan Batey said she’s excited for the upcoming season.

“I think it’s going pretty decently,” she said. “This shows me what I need to get ready to work on for the rest of the season.”

“I think I need to focus on my ground strokes and just being more consistent in terms of grinding it out in the matches and things like that,” she added. “I think for the most part I was really pleased with my serve so far this tournament. I can focus more on my backhand and things like that.”

Breland also said she’s looking forward to playing some more tennis.

“I feel like the season’s going to go pretty well. We have a pretty good team,” Breland said. “No. 1 through 6, I think we’ll be playing pretty high up in the lineup and the season should go well if everybody plays their game, and just do what they’re supposed to do and go out there. We can win.”

Evan Cross can be reached at evan.cross@temple.edu or on Twitter @EvanCross.

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