Temple lost its second American Athletic Conference game 3-2 to Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut Wednesday.
As Temple (14-5, 5-2 American Athletic Conference) led the opening set 9-7, senior setter Sandra Sydlik jammed her hand while going for a block against a UConn (8-10, 2-5 The American) player at the net. Sydlik, who is No. 11 in Division I in assists per game with 11.52, left the match and did not return.
“Injuries are a part of the sport,” Ganesharatnam said. “Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you don’t.”
Freshman setter Hannah Vandegrift stepped in for the injured Sydlik, receiving playing time for the first time since Sept. 27 against Central Florida.
In the first set, Vandegrift earned seven assists and one dig as the Owls defeated UConn 25-23 to take an early lead.
“I thought she did a tremendous job,” Ganesharatnam said. “She came in and was poised and did exactly what we needed her to do.”
In the second set, Vandegrift continued to adjust to the game, collecting 11 assists. As a team, Temple hit 9.4 hitting percent in the set, compared to UConn’s 38 percent as Temple dropped the set 25-18.
Between the second and the third set, Ganesharatnam took time in the locker room to address Vandegrift.
“We just told her to be poised and keep it simple,” Ganeshartnam said. “There was not much adjustments for her to make.”
In the third set, the Owls jumped to a 9-6 lead and then a 17-13 advantage. The Huskies tied the match at 17-17 and then took a 21-18 lead. Temple responded with an 8-3 run to win the set 26-24.
In the fourth set, the Owls committed six errors and had a zero hitting percentage, as the Huskies won the set 25-15.
Connecticut forced Temple to its first fifth set since the Owls beat Duquesne 3-2 victory Sept. 15.
After trading leads throughout the fifth set, an attack error from junior outside hitter Caroline Grattan gave UConn a 17-15 victory.
“We need to get better,” Ganesharatnam said. “It’s the beginning of conference play. We have a record of 5-2 and still have 13 matches to play. We have to focus on getting better and be ready to compete against East Carolina.”
Connor Northrup can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org