Owls finish second in Bridgeport

After completing the second meet of the season Thursday night against Bridgeport and Southern Connecticut, coach Aaron Murphy saw the exact opposite of what happened at George Washington the week before. Murphy said his team started off strong, especially on the beams.

“We started off on the bars, did pretty well there, and then went over to beam,” Murphy said. “Beam was actually a pretty stellar performance, as compared to last week.”

However, a particular event has been causing the Owls trouble early in the season.

“So after two events, and really carrying all that momentum, I was really hoping that would carry over to floor exercise, but floor wasn’t our best performance,” Murphy said.

Temple finished second overall in their tri-meet against Bridgeport and Southern Connecticut State, posting a score of 188.350. Bridgeport University, the five-time defending ECAC Division II conference champions and host of the meet, won with a score of 192.975. Southern Connecticut State finished in third with a tally of 187.125.

The Owls started off strong, scoring 47.000 on the uneven bars and 47.675 on the balance beam. But after that, they struggled on the floor exercise, as their score slipped to 46.175. Murphy tried to explain what has been giving the girls trouble on the floor early this season.

“It could be a result of traveling all day, who knows,” Murphy said. “We still have a young team. It is the beginning of the season, at this point we are hoping that they hit [their routines], but because it is such an early part of the season, they are going to learn from their mistakes and better themselves for the remainder of the year. But yeah, I still have to attest that we still haven’t seen ‘Temple’ floor yet. We look to debuting that in Alaska, having that floor team really shine.”

But Murphy has noticed a bright spot early in the year, in the form of Reagan Oliveri. The sophomore scored 38.125 in the all-around, good for third out of seven athletes in that category. She also led all athletes in the balance beam, posting a score of 9.700. Murphy said he is excited about what Oliveri brings to his young team.

“Having someone like her on the squad right now is great because she’s young, she’s a sophomore,” Murphy said. “My upperclassmen who are doing the all-around, now they’re being pushed. They’re saying to themselves, ‘If she’s doing it, I can do it. I can beat her.’”

Next week, the Owls travel  to Alaska to compete in Anchorage.

“It’s making sure they’re mentally on their game,” Murphy said of the importance of focusing. “I’ve talked to Anchorage’s coach and we’re going to try to get into that gym on Thursday, just to mentally go through their sets. Just to know physically, they are ready. It’s just the mental game, because they’re not used to that type of travel.”

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

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