East Carolina freshman right side hitter Bri Wood directed a cut shot toward the weak side of the court in the third set. Temple senior setter Kyra Coundourides successfully made a dig on the kill attempt, and the ball flew high into the air.
No one touched the ball before it hit the floor. None of the other five players on Temple’s side of the net attempted to go for the ball.
No dives, no calls of “I got it” and no swings. All they did was stare.
Coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam got up out of his seat, looked down at the ground and clapped his hands in frustration.
Miscommunication and a lack of execution were the main factors in Temple’s four-set loss to East Carolina at McGonigle Hall, Ganesharatnam said. Temple (7-6, 3-2 American Athletic Conference) committed 34 errors against the Pirates.
“The number of unforced errors was a little too high today,” Ganesharatnam said. “I don’t think we did a good job making adjustments. We had a really good game plan coming into the match that worked early on against [East Carolina], but they made some good adjustments.”
“Our game plan was to serve tough so that they could be out of system,” junior libero Mia Heirakuji said.
Heirakuji said Temple’s nine service errors didn’t put the team “in the best position.”
Temple allowed East Carolina to hit 25.9 percent and tally 55 kills. Wood led the Pirates with 18 kills, which tied senior outside hitter Izzy Rapacz for a game-high.
Rapacz also had 14 digs against East Carolina, but the double-double wasn’t enough to get the win.
Junior middle blocker Iva Deak was the only other Temple player to reach double figures in kills with 11. Despite Deak’s ability to score, Temple struggled to connect in the middle, Ganesharatnam said.
The Owls only had four blocks against East Carolina. The only time Temple had less than four blocks this season was in its loss against Colgate University on Sept. 1.
“We normally play really good defense,” Coundourides said. “Blocking wise I know we definitely needed to penetrate the net, but we just weren’t our normal defensive selves.”
Temple will continue conference play on Sunday against Cincinnati at McGonigle Hall at 1 p.m.