Owls refocus in conference play

Temple is 7-3 after 10 conference games.

After Houston defeated Temple 3-2 Friday, Caroline Grattan sat down to think in front of her locker.

The Owls have lost three of their last seven American Athletic Conference games, currently sitting second in the conference at 7-3.

“I think we are frustrated, honestly,” Grattan, the junior outside hitter, said. “I know I am frustrated from seeing the same thing happen last year where we were so good and had all this potential, but missed it by this much.”

Temple finished 15-5 in the American last season and missed out on a conference title, tying for second with Southern Methodist.

Southern Methodist handed Temple’s its first conference loss in 2015. The Mustangs, who rank No. 1 in the American, swept the Owls 3-0.

After bouncing back to beat Tulsa on the road Oct. 11, Temple lost to UConn 3-2 in Storrs, Connecticut Oct. 14.

Temple hit 15 percent while committing 31 errors against the Huskies, who ranks eight in The American.

Temple rebounded by defeating East Carolina 3-1 Oct. 18, but five days later, the Owls lost to Houston inside McGonigle Hall. The Cougars earned seven aces and 55 kills in Temple’s 3-2 loss.

“Knowing for me, I am going to be so fired up from this point on,” Grattan said. “Every single game matters, and we have been saying that even the past two losses, every single game matters.”

Grattan said mental errors are plaguing the team to perform worse than its potential.

“If you come to our practices, you could easily say that we are a Top 30, maybe Top 40 team in the country, then we get out to play and let other teams get inside of our head,” Grattan said. “I think going from this point on, there will be a lot of things that need to change our mental attitude whether that is going hard in practice or somebody telling you to pick it up.”

As Temple hits the halfway mark of conference play with ten games remaining, coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam is staying positive after earning seven conference wins.

“If anybody would have told me in the preseason this would be the case, I would have signed up for it,” Ganesharatnam said. “We are playing better volleyball than we did last year, and that’s all I can ask for.”

Connor Northrup can be reached at connor.northrup@temple.edu.

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