After trailing by eight to Wichita State early in the third set, Temple rallied and found itself two points away from winning the set with the match tied at one set apiece.
Wichita State junior outside hitter Tabitha Brown tossed the ball high over the concourse at McGonigle Hall and overhanded her serve directly at Temple senior outside hitter Dara Peric. She cleanly received Brown’s serve to give Temple a chance to set up a strong attack. Following Peric’s dig, senior setter Kyra Coundourides lobbed a pass across court to senior outside hitter Irem Asci.
Asci rose over the net and went for a kill to Wichita State’s right back zone. Temple and its fans roared with cheers as Wichita State’s back line couldn’t keep the ball in play. The moment of celebration ended quickly, however.
The ball was initially called out by the first referee and after consulting with the line judge responsible for Wichita State’s side of the court, the call stood. Temple players, coaches and fans were left in confusion with their hands on their heads. Asci was charged with an attack error, and the score was now tied instead of Temple having set point.
Wichita State went on to win the set and beat Temple in four sets. Temple (4-5, 0-1 American Athletic Conference) hit its lowest percentage of the night at just 9.1 percent in the closing set.
The long third set, which ended in a 31-29 Wichita State win, was mentally draining for Temple heading into the fourth, coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said.
“It could’ve gone either way,” senior outside hitter Izzy Rapacz said. “It was frustrating and we showed that on the court. We just weren’t the lucky ones. We got the short end of the stick.”
Rapacz ended the match with a career-high 21 kills while hitting 38.5 percent.
Despite a 3-1 loss, Temple senior middle blocker Janine Simmons said the game was closer than what the final outcome perceived.
Simmons contributed nine kills and a team-high four blocks in the loss to Wichita State.
The first set, like the third, went into extra points. The Owls couldn’t come away with a win in either of the deuce sets.
“I was telling my team it’s every single ball, it’s every single point that matters,” Rapacz said. “And that came true because we lost by two points in two sets.”
“We played, overall, a really good match tonight,” Ganesharatnam said. “Sometimes when you win, you think everything is great, and when you lose, you fall in a trap and say everything is bad. That was certainly not the case today. If you look at the first and third sets, they could’ve gone either way. We could’ve possibly walked away with a three-nothing victory tonight.”
The Owls finished with five players scoring in double figures but had trouble containing Wichita State senior outside hitter Mikaela Raudsepp. She ended the game with a match-high 23 kills while hitting an accurate 40.8 percent.
Temple’s next game is against Memphis on Sunday afternoon at McGonigle Hall. The Tigers are coming off of a loss in its conference opener to Connecticut.