Owls drop both meets in Alaska

Team’s floor struggles continue.

The women’s gymnastics team spent the weekend outside of the continental United States, competing in two dual meets against the University of Alaska Anchorage. The Owls ended up dropping both meets, the first by less a slim margin of 188.000 to 179.125, and the second by a tally of 190.150 to 188.100.

“I think that our floor team on day one, they’re the ones who dropped the ball,” coach Aaron Murphy said.  “If we did better on floor, we would have beaten them easily.  We had three events do really well for us on that first day, and then floor was definitely not as good as it should have been, and that’s definitely where the [first] loss came from.”

While Temple outscored the Seawolves in three out of four events, this weak showing on the floor exercise proved to be costly, as the Owls were outscored 47.625 to 45.850, a difference of 1.775 points.

The floor exercise cannot continue to be his team’s Achilles’ heel, Murphy said.

“We’re still a little dumbfounded by that,” he said.  “My assistant coach [Deirdre Bertotti] and I are going to talk about it after this meet.  And we’ve got a long time to talk about it, we have probably 12 hours of travel ahead of us, so we’ll have plenty of time to discuss the ins and outs of that floor team and why they’re not getting it together at this point.  I do hold it on my shoulders because I’m the coach, I feel that I have to take blame on why we’re not doing as well as we should.  I’m going to do a little self-analysis, figure out what we’ve done in the past, and maybe try to apply that to the future.”

On the second day, Murphy said there were problems across the board.

“For today, it was a little different, because we had our misses on every event,” he said.  “The only event we didn’t count a fall was vault.  On vault we went five for six, and with our score we count the top five out of the top six.  On the bars we counted a fall, on beam we counted one fall, and then on floor we counted two falls.  So altogether we counted four falls.  Without those, we might have been at a 190.1, and we may have been able to beat them.”

Even though the Owls were 12 plus hours away from home, Murphy does not see that as an excuse for his team’s performance.

“I’m not blaming it on travel at all,” he said.  “In college sports, if you’re in a personal car, a plane, or a train, when you get up to compete, you get up and do your job, plain and simple.”

Besides the floor exercise, Temple’s other struggles came on the parallel bars.  Even though they outscored the Seawolves on Friday, the bars were their second lowest event with a score of 46.475.  On Sunday, the score dropped to 46.350, and ended up being their worst event.

However, Murphy expects these results to improve in the future.

“Having our anchor, Victoria Reggani miss [on bars] is such a rarity,” he said.  “And I don’t think that’s going to be normal for us in the future.  I think we’re really going to get out there and do a little bit better on bars.”

On the other hand, the Owls excelled on the vault, as it was their best event on both days.

“Vault is just one of those things where if you have it, you have it,” Murphy said.  “I think with this group of girls this year, we have that event.  And we’re looking to upgrade our vaults in the future, throw in some harder vaults, which is going to make that score go up.”

Next week, Murphy hopes that being back in Philadelphia will help his girls gain a competitive edge.

“I think the one good thing about being at home is that the girls are comfortable because it’s their equipment, it’s their house, the fans are all there for them,” Murphy said.  “So I think that’s going to be a big plus for our competition on Saturday.  But again, we got some tweaking to do.  I don’t want what’s been happening with floor to happen in front of our home crowd.  So Deirdre and I, we’re going to figure this out, maybe change up the way we’re training them on floor this week, and see if it works well on Saturday.”

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steven.bohnel@temple.edu or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.

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