Owls struggle in Annapolis

Turoff says the team has a lot to work on.

Last week, coach Fred Turoff said he wanted his team to cut down on mistakes.  If they could do that, beating Navy in Annapolis was within reach.

But the Owls could not rebound from their opening week struggles, finishing fourth out of the five teams competing in the Navy Open.  Penn State won the meet with a score of 420.90, followed by William and Mary, who scored 414.25 points.  Meet host Navy finished in third with 408.10 points, followed by Temple with a score of 398.05.  Springfield rounded out the field, scoring 391.80 points.

“Our guys did better today but we still have a lot of errors to correct,” Turoff said.  “I wasn’t able to work with some guys [over the week], but overall we made some improvements today and we will be prepared to do better in the future.”

Headlining those improvements was Turoff’s son, Evan Eigner.  The sophomore placed third overall in the still rings with a score of 15.05, the best performance in his career.

“Some things did go well,” Turoff said.  “The fact that Evan hit his routine today and got the highest score of his career was pretty nice.”

The still rings was the best event for the Owls, who compiled a team score of 68.30, placing them fourth out of the six teams.  On the contrary, Temple struggled on the high bar, where a team score of 63.55 placed them last among all competitors.  Turoff pointed to an equipment issue as part of the problem.

“Guys were still missing releases,” he said.  “In fact, one guy had a hand guard come off, he didn’t have it attached well.  So he had to jump off the bar early.”

However, Turoff did see some positives.

“I think that Jacob Welsh went five events today as a freshman was notable,” Turoff said. “Phil Pruett had a pretty good day, he got through all of his routines pretty well.  Mike Bittner, who fell on high bar last week, hit his routine today.  Blaise Cosenza did a few better routines today.  And Scott Haddaway came back into the lineup today after having a bad back, and added two events.  So those are nice things.”

Welsh’s best score came on the vault, where he tallied a 13.5, placing him 25th among all competitors.  Pruett’s best event was the floor exercise, where he scored 13.55 points, good for 12th overall.  Bittner’s high bar score was 13.35, over a point higher than his 12.2 point performance at the West Point Open last week.  Cosenza improved in two of the three events he competed in, which were the parallel and high bars.  The biggest boost was getting co-captain Scott Haddaway back after losing fellow co-captain John Leonard to a forearm injury last week.

The Owls return home to McGonigle Hall next Saturday to host Springfield University.  Turoff wants his team to focus on a particular part of their routines during practice this week.

“I think a few more guys have to catch the bar in their events,” he said.  “And we should land better.  We only had one stuck landing all meet long today.  And that means that you’re giving up 2.9 to 3 tenths each landing, which ultimately adds up to 9 points.”

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

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