Despite being picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference, Temple has only won one of seven matches this season, with the lone victory coming against a Morgan State, a team with the same record of 1-6.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Owls aren’t very worried about it.
“I think it’s gonna be really promising,” junior Carly Bohman said. “I think it’s going to get better and better as we get our stuff together.”
“Once we get healthy, everything should be fine,” coach Steve Mauro said. “We just need to keep working at it.”
The Owls started off the season with a string of tough games. Three of their first five matches were against nationally ranked teams: Virginia Commonwealth, Penn State and Princeton, all losses. On Feb. 13, the Owls lost at home to Georgetown 4-2. The other losses were against Campbell and Richmond. Those six teams have a combined record of 23-12.[blockquote who=”Jordan Batey” what=”Junior Tennis Player”] We’ve had a lot of injuries. It’s been hard to get in a rhythm with each other.[/blockquote]
“We’ve had a tough schedule,” Mauro said. “We’ve played some really tough teams like Princeton and VCU. We’ve played the two strongest opponents in the A-10 [Richmond and VCU]. We just need to keep working at it.”
“We had two really close matches against Richmond and Georgetown,” Bohman said. “We’re starting to get into better shape and more mentally in the game. It’s just taking us a little bit longer than usual this year to get into shape.”
Bohman said the schedule has affected team morale.
“Our confidence is a little bit thrown off from the tough start,” Bohman said. “[Junior] Jordan [Batey] was injured for two matches, and that made a big difference.”
Batey, who is 3-1 in singles matches this spring, has been suffering from chest congestion. She has played in the past two matches, but said she isn’t completely healthy yet.
“I’m working back now,” Batey said. “Just practicing harder. I’m still trying to keep an eye on my condition. I’m still able to play matches.”
No Owls are suffering from any major injuries, but there have been a few instances where minor injuries prevented a player from competing. Junior Yana Mavrina had to forfeit her top-flight match on Wednesday after three games due to an illness, which Mauro said will not be a lasting issue.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries,” Batey said. “It’s been hard to get in a rhythm with each other. Once we get a really steady rhythm going it’ll be fine. I’m not worried about it at all.”
Despite missing some time, Batey has been doing well in doubles. She and her partner, junior Alicia Doms, are 2-0 together in the spring, both wins being in the first flight. They also played a match together against VCU that was not completed.
“I’m really focusing on playing well in doubles,” Batey said. “I want to have 10 or 15 wins with Alicia. I think we have a good chance. I’m really confident with the way we’re playing. We mesh with each other well. It’s really fun playing with her.”
Temple did not play a home match this season until last week’s match against Georgetown. The Owls played Richmond at the University of Pennsylvania because the Legacy Tennis Center, where Temple plays home matches, was unavailable at the time.
“Traveling takes a little bit out of you, and the people watching are not cheering for you,” Bohman said. “We had our first home match Wednesday, and it was definitely a lot more comfortable. It’s our territory.”
Bohman said the poor start is not affecting the team camaraderie, and there is “definitely more unity” among the players.
“[The season] is going to be really promising,” Bohman said. “We’re playing Buffalo next week, which should be a really good match. I think it’s gonna get better and better as we get our stuff together.”
Evan Cross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EvanCross.