Temple University volleyball (5-3, 1-3 The American Athletic Conference) got shut out 3-0 by Central Florida (8-2, 2-0 The American Athletic Conference) in both its matches on Thursday and Friday.
The Owls lost all three sets in Thursday’s match despite close scores. Temple fought hard in each set but fell short in the end, losing 25-22, 28-26 and 25-23. In Friday’s match, Central Florida once again took down Temple, this time by larger margins, with the Owls losing 25-19, 25-12 and 25-16.
In Thursday’s match, the Owls only lost by a total of seven points and were the first to reach 20 in each set before getting stuck in bad rotations toward the end of the sets, leading to their downfall.
“We just have to fine-tune some of the details, when there are certain rotations we get stuck and we gotta find better ways to score,” said head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam. “It also goes back to that we need to do a better job executing on the offense in order to get out of those rotations so we can give ourself a chance to win some of those sets where we are close.”
On Thursday, junior outside hitter Gem Grimshaw led the team with 18 kills and finished with 11 digs, while junior outside hitter Miray Bolukbasi finished with 10 kills and 10 digs.
During Friday’s match, Temple found it difficult to combat Central Florida’s aggressive defense, and the Owls’ blockers struggled with serve receives and getting into their system.
“This was a learning experience for us,” Ganesharatnam said. “We have not won a championship, so this is something we have to learn in order to get to that point that allows us to compete for a championship.”
Friday’s first set was tight as Temple led 19-18 until UCF came from behind to score the next seven consecutive points to pull out the win. Temple continued to push against UCF’s aggressive defense, but lost the final two sets as the Owls struggled to create consistent offense of their own.
Freshman defensive specialist Falanika Danielson led Temple with 16 digs in Friday’s match. Bolukbasi had nine kills, while Grimshaw recorded seven kills and nine digs.
As the Owls look toward their coming matches, they will have to stay out of bad rotations and regain their form on offense to hold their spot in the conference.
“One thing we have learned, anything can happen this season,” Ganesharatnam said. “So we are just going to keep doing what we’re doing, and we are just going to keep competing, and at the end of the season, we’ll see where it takes us.”
The Owls’ next match is at home against Seton Hall (0-0, 0-0 The Big East) on Feb. 26 at 5 p.m.