Temple had been on a five-game losing streak stretching back to Jan. 26 before defeating St. Bonaventure 7-0 on Sunday, Feb. 24. The win helped increase team morale, which was much needed.
“This win was good for our confidence,” junior co-captain Yana Mavrina said. “It’s going to help us a lot, especially for the next match.”
During the losing streak, Temple amassed a cumulative record of 8-26. Three of those matches – against Penn State, Princeton and Buffalo – were by a 6-1 margin. All of those matches were away.
The other two matches were either at home or on a neutral site. The Owls took on Richmond on Penn’s campus, losing 4-3, the closest match of the losing streak. The singular home match at Legacy Tennis Center was against Georgetown, which won 4-2.
Sophomore Rebecca Breland was a bright spot during the five-match slump. She has gone 4-2 in singles play since the Penn State match, with all four wins coming in the third flight. Her worst loss was a 6-3, 6-4 defeat to sophomore Katie Goepel of Princeton.
“[Breland] has just been getting better and better,” coach Steve Mauro said. “Her game is starting to improve. Especially her backhand, it’s been getting a lot better.”
The win against St. Bonaventure marked the first Atlantic 10 Conference victory of the season for the Owls. They are now 1-2 in conference play, with six conference matches left to play – five of which are away.
“The A-10 matches are our most important matches because that’s what we needed to do in order to be seeded high for the A-10 tournament,” Mauro said.
Last season, Temple finished 14-11 overall, but 6-1 in the A-10. This gave the Owls the fourth overall seed in the A-10 tournament last year, and they benefited from that seeding, advancing to the semifinals.
During the losing streak, Temple went 1-4 in three-set matches. Junior Alicia Doms was the most successful in the long matches, defeating Penn State junior Carmen Sander 6-4, 1-6, 1-0. Doms also played one unfinished three-set match against Georgetown junior Kelly Comolli. She was winning 7-6, 4-6, 4-3 when the match was halted.
Last weekend, Temple played at Buffalo on Saturday and at St. Bonaventure on Sunday. Since both schools are located in western New York, the team left Friday afternoon and didn’t return to Philadelphia until Sunday evening. When they weren’t playing, the team spent time together.
“On Friday night, we got to the hotel and we all watched a movie together,” Mavrina said.
Usually, the team spends so much time at the courts, they don’t do much else.
“I wish we did [some sightseeing], but we don’t have any time,” Mavrina said. “If the match is early, we wake up, go to the court, warm up, play the match, and then we are tired and we have to do homework. We don’t go anywhere.”
The Owls only won the doubles point once during the losing streak, against Richmond. Since the doubles matches are the first to be played, winning the point is often a precursor to a match victory. Temple has won the doubles point in both victories this season.
“I think we played really well, especially in doubles,” Mavrina said of the St. Bonaventure match. “We did a great job finishing the ball at the net. We felt really confident, and we stayed confident during the whole match. We had an easy match.”
“Doubles was a lot better than [against Buffalo],” Mauro said. “We won our matches pretty easily. The girls were very focused.”
Mavrina is confident that the team can build off the win.
“We won’t be scared about losing,” Mavrina said. “We just need to stay confident.”
The Owls’ next match is on Sunday, March 3, at Lehigh. The match is set for 2 p.m.
Evan Cross can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @EvanCross.