After falling to Boston College on Friday in five sets in the Owls’ opening match in the two-day Long Island University-Brooklyn Invitational, Temple was back in action for two matches on Saturday, facing Northern Kentucky in the afternoon and hosts Long Island University-Brooklyn in the evening. The opening match with Northern Kentucky marked the first ever matchup between the two teams.
Friday’s loss turned out to be a precursor, as the Owls dropped both Saturday matches in five sets.
Much like many previous matches this season, Temple dropped the first set to the Norse by a score of 25-22. The second set was also close, but the Owls wound up on the short side of a 25-23 score and found themselves down two sets, like the night before against Boston College.
Also similar to the Boston College match, Temple rallied to win the third set by a convincing score of 25-14. However the Owls were unable to force a fifth set like they did Friday, falling in the fourth stanza, 25-20. Owls Coach Bakeer Ganes said Northern Kentucky presented some difficult challenges for his team.
“Northern Kentucky played a very unorthodox style, very scrappy and defensive oriented,” Ganes said.
Sophomore outside hitter Caroline Grattan once again led the team with 19 kills, while juniors Alyssa Drachslin and Kayla Yingling, along with freshman Dara Peric all contributed double-digit kill totals.
Temple was back at it just a few hours later against LIU Brooklyn, and against dropped the first set, 25-17. With that loss, Temple has now lost five of its last six opening sets.
The Owls found a way to rally again and would take a 2-1 lead in the match when they won the next two sets. However, LIU would win the final two sets as Temple dropped another five-setter, its fourth so far this season.
“I think every set was competitive and at the end they just got on a run and things got away,” Ganes said of his team’s third consecutive loss.
Peric led Temple in the kill category against LIU while adding 12 digs. While the team finished the weekend winless, Ganes said his team is focusing on moving forward as they head into next weekend’s Big 5 Invitational at The Palestra.
“We kind of know how to put everything in perspective,” Ganes said. “The main thing is to get better as a program and this team is getting better.”
Greg Frank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @g_frank6.