The women’s gymnastics team put up a tough fight in a quad meet which featured rival University of Pennsylvania, but the Owls couldn’t complete the season sweep against the Quakers.
Temple fell to Penn, 192.795-190.45, at Hutch Gymnasium last Sunday to finish second ahead of Ursinus (186.225) and West Chester (180.775).
With the loss, Temple dropped to 9-5 overall and 2-1 against the Quakers this season.
But the Owls gave energetic performances throughout the meet, especially on the vault, where they marked a meet-high score of 48.45. It was also the highest vault score in team history. Junior Alexis Zafferes and sophomore Katie Domenico took the first two spots.
After the meet, Temple was satisfied with its routines and confident that it’s taking positive steps.
“I think we did pretty well today,” senior Paige Ozaroski said. “Everybody came together as a team. This is the best [meet] we have had this year, not only performance-wise but team-wise.”
The Owls beat the Quakers Feb. 5 in their home opener at McGonigle Hall by less than one point, 189.775 to 189.175. Temple scored nearly one point higher than the team’s first matchup.
“Penn had an awesome meet,” junior co-captain Erin Davis said. “They were at their own gym, so they had a little bit of an advantage. We have depth throughout our team and a lot of talent.”
Senior co-captain Jennifer Beaver led the Owls with a solid routine on the floor, scoring a 9.6. Ozaroski encouraged her teammates with a dynamic performance on the vault, earning a 9.7. Beaver, Davis and Ozaroski were named USAG All-Americans in 2003.
Assistant coach Aaron Murphy came to terms with the loss and understood what the Owls need to fix.
“Our beam was a little shaky, but the vault was phenomenal,” Murphy said. “I think we ended up with a very good day [because] we scored over 190, which is always the goal for us at every meet. We need to work a lot on landing on the floor, which is a big thing we have to do. We have the skills together, so we’re just working on the basics.”
The Owls took Monday off and had two practice sessions this week to prepare for the Towson Invitational hosted by Towson Feb. 13. Temple will also compete against James Madison and Rhode Island.
Murphy said there is nothing to lose in the next invitation. He wants the Owls to show up relaxed and perform to their capabilities.
“We are going there as kind of like an underdog,” Murphy said. “Many great gymnastic teams are there, so I hope we go in, hit as many routines as possible and just go from start to finish with confidence.”
Ozaroski knows how difficult the competition will be.
“It’s going to be a tough meet because they are good teams,” Ozaroski said. “We improve each meet as we go. We broke 190 [points] today. Hopefully, we just keep going up there.”
After the invitational, the Owls have two more away meets in February at New Hampshire and Rutgers.
Toshi Horiuchi can be reached at email@example.com.