Owls fall short in close match against Tigers

Temple University volleyball lost 3-2 to the University of Memphis on Friday night.

Patrycja Zielinska, a freshman, prepares to set the ball against the University of Memphis at McGonigle Hall on Nov. 5. | NICK DAVIS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University volleyball (5-19, 1-12 The American Athletic Conference) continued its six-game losing streak with a 3-2 loss against the University of Memphis (12-14, 5-9 The American) on Friday night.

The Owls have been working on their defensive blocks, which has been difficult due to the number of injuries in the starting line-up. Despite players like redshirt-junior right side hitter Peyton Boyd returning from injury on Friday, the Owls’ defense failed to play consistently against the Tigers. 

“I thought the team worked really hard,” said head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam. “I thought the fight was really good. They put everything they had on the court today. It’s just very unfortunate we couldn’t come up with the win.”

The Owls played Boyd and freshman middle blocker Taylor Davenport together at the net, which helped the Owls’ defense. This, along with blocking, allowed the Owls to win the first set 25-23. 

In the second set, the Tigers won 25-17 because of their mobility on offense, which forced the Owls to commit errors.

“Sometimes we get stuck in a rotation,” Ganesharatnam said. “We’ve gotten better not allowing the other team to go on five, six, seven-point runs, but we’re still allowing them to go on two, three, four-point runs, so we still have to work on eliminating that.” 

After attacking holes in the Tigers’ defense, the Owls won the third set 25-22, despite the Tigers pushing hard to make a comeback. 

In the fourth set, the Owls needed to keep moving the ball around the court to throw off Memphis’ defense. They were successful for the beginning of the set, but lost momentum, which allowed the Tigers to win 25-20.

The fifth set was a slow start for Temple. The Owls kept the score close for the most part until Memphis went on a five-point run to win 15-8. 

Ganesharatnam believed Friday night’s line-up was a near perfect situation, he said.

“We had almost everybody that’s supposed to be in the starting line up somewhat healthy, so we just have to build on that, hope we stay healthy, so that way we can be in this lineup and get into a better rhythm every time we play,” he said

Graduate student outside hitter Miray Bolukbasi led the Owls with 16 kills. Also helping was junior outside hitter Gem Grimshaw with 15 kills and 14 digs.

The Owls will work on preventing other teams from taking large runs and improving their momentum and communication as they head into their next match against Southern Methodist University (12-11, 8-5 The American) on Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. in McGonigle Hall. 

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