Temple University volleyball (10-8, 1-6 The American Athletic Conference) lost three straight sets to Southern Methodist (12-5, 5-2 The AAC) on Friday, in a match that was marred by errors by the Owls.
Temple only scored one less kill than the hosting Mustangs and equaled them in assists with 39 and digs with 49, but an error discrepancy of 23 to 8 in favor of SMU turned what could have been a competitive contest into a decisive loss.
All of the sets were close. Two of the three sets were tied at 10-10 at some point, but Temple’s unforced errors allowed the Mustangs to pull away, with the final set being the closest at 25-20.
“We played some good sets all the way until 15, 17 points, and then we just made too many unforced errors that allowed SMU to go on runs,” coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said. “I don’t think it’s x’s and o’s. We just gotta be more mentally focus and understand that we can’t allow [ourselves] to make those mistakes at the end if we want to have a chance to compete for that win.”
Sophomore right side hitter Peyton Boyd finished with a match-high 14 kills on a .500 hitting percentage. She added two block assists and three digs.
“It really hurt us whenever she was out of the rotation, that really allowed SMU to go on some of those runs,” Ganesharatnam said. “We couldn’t put enough pressure on them.”
Sophomore outside hitter Gem Grimshaw finished second in the match with 13 kills and tied for a team high 11 digs, but she committed five errors. Sophomore setter Tyler Lindgren assisted 37 of Temple’s kills and posted six digs.
Mustangs sophomore outside hitter Hannah Jacobs paced SMU with 12 kills on 37 attempts and five digs.
Besides errors, SMU set itself apart upfront, out-blocking the Owls 10-4 behind senior middle blocker Meryn Kennedy, who totaled six block assists and one solo.
“They’re a good blocking team and they have some really good athletes, and we knew that was gonna be an issue,” Ganesharatnam said. “I don’t think we could have done a better job finding solutions on the offense.”
The Owls return to the court on Sunday when they take on Memphis at 2 p.m in Memphis, Tennessee.