Written By: Jesse Dimich-Louvet
Photo Courtesy of: OwlSports.com
Temple was unable to make it sixth time lucky, losing yet another five-set thriller to Memphis 25-23, 17-25, 25-22, 20-25, 8-15). With the loss, the Owls drop to 5-19 on the season and 1-12 in the American.
The Owls came out firing on all cylinders thanks to freshman setter Patrycja Zielinska, distributing the ball to five different hitters, with each of her hitters tallying at least one kill each.
“The fight was really good,” said head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam. The tigers and owls match up beautifully with one another creating an enthralling encounter for the fans.
Memphis struck back in the early stages of the second set, storming to a lead and never relinquishing it, tying proceedings at one set apiece.
Temple dialed up their offense in the third set as they hit .400 on 35 attempts for just two errors. Grad student Miray Bolukbasi had five of her 16 kills in the third set on nine attempts and no errors.
There was little to separate both teams, with 14 ties and six lead changes in the third set, before the Owls took five out of the last seven points to take a two-set to one lead.
Though Memphis was not going anywhere, both teams struggled offensively but the Tigers held the Cherry and White to a .135 hitting percentage. The match forced into a decisive set only seemed fitting.
“They put everything they had on the floor,” Ganesharatnam said. Though he would like to see the opposing teams not go on five-point runs.
The Owls started the final stanza missing a serve into the net which set the tone. Even the two challenges went Temple’s way but it was not enough in the end with the Owls making too many mistakes down the stretch. The Tigers held the Owls to -.074 in the fifth set, forcing nine hitting errors and three to close out the set, making the ultimate difference in the Tigers’ grueling 5 set victory. Although it was another tough pill for the owls to swallow, Ganesharatnam remains optimistic saying, “the only way from here is forward.”
Temple is now 2-4 in five-set matches this season and will be looking to bounce back on Sunday against SMU.