Volleyball loses in Houston

Owls lose 3-1 in Sunday’s match.

Coming off a quick turnaround after a 3-0 loss to Southern Methodist, the Owls visited Houston to try and beat the Cougars to earn a valuable road win in the competitive American Athletic conference.

However, Temple got off to a slow start — one that ultimately led to a 3-1 loss, dropping their record to 17-9 overall and 8-6 in the conference.

Coach Bakeer Ganes emphasized the importance of winning road conference games, something the Owls have struggled with up to this point (8-2 home, 4-7 away).

“In general, we’re just not playing good enough,” he said.  “It’s a long season, but we’re learning that it’s not good enough to be playing well just at the beginning of the season.  We play well at home, but we got to play well on the road too.”

Another key statistic of the match was the Cougars’ eight aces.

“We made some mistakes on some services,” Ganes said.  “It’s all about communication, movement on the court, tracking the serves, and we just didn’t do a good job with that.”

Aside from the miscues, there were some solid performances from Temple on Sunday.  Senior Gabriella Matautia led the Owls with 15 kills, while sophomore Sandra Sydlik collected 30 assists in the loss. But Ganes was unhappy with the team’s offense as a whole, seeing the same mistakes carry over from Friday’s match at SMU.

“We certainly didn’t execute at the net on offense as well, similar to what we didn’t do against SMU, basically,” he said.  “We just looked a little flat today, so we gotta go back, regroup, address these issues, and fix them, so hopefully we can be a little more prepared for the next opponent.”

Looking ahead, every match is going to be vital for the Owls if they wish to keep their postseason hopes alive.

“Every match from now on is gonna be a big one for us,” Ganes said.  “We want to get as many wins as possible in the conference.  Every team in this conference, especially on the road, they are very tough teams, so we gotta get better and it’s my responsibility as a coach to make sure we’re ready to compete.”

The Owls will look to end their two-game losing streak when they face Rutgers (4-24, 0-14 The American) next Friday in New Jersey.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at sbohnel@gmail.com or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.

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