PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (SMU) – The Mustangs suffered their first road conference loss at Temple Sunday, falling 3-1 after coming up two points short in an extended fourth set (25-19, 25-23, 14-25, 28-26). Caroline Young led SMU with a match-high 14 kills, and Abbey Bybel scored 12, but it wasn’t enough to get the fourth straight road win in conference matches.
Down 23-20 in the fourth set, the Mustangs (12-7, 4-2 American Athletic Conference) scored four straight points, two on blocks, to take a 24-23 lead and get the first attempt at set point, attempting to force a fifth set. Young’s serve went long, and the Owls (13-4, 4-1 American) scored a kill to get their first shot at match point. After an SMU timeout, the Temple serve went into the net. SMU wasn’t able to regain the lead, and after a block by Temple, Alyssa Drachslin served an ace to end the match.
Bybel also had a match-high 15 digs for her third double-double of the season, and Young also posted her third double-double with 12 digs. Avery Acker finished with 45 assists and 11 digs for her team-best eighth double-double. SMU came out of the lockerroom after the intermission and quickly took a huge lead, scoring 14 of the first 20 points, including a string of five consecutive points. SMU scored three straight to end the set on an ace by Acker. The Mustangs hit .417 in the set, their highest hitting percentage in the first three sets, and three Mustangs totaled four kills each in the set.
After a back-and-forth start to the first set, the Owls scored four straight to take a 12-8 lead. Temple held on to the advantage the rest of the way, taking a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-19 win. Down 20-13, SMU scored three straight to get to within four, but once the lead was four, the Owls never let the Mustangs get within three points. Bybel led the Mustangs with four kills in the set, hitting .429, but SMU hit just .097 as a team to start the match.
Temple built a four-point lead in the second set, but the Mustangs rallied to score six straight and take a 12-10 lead. The score stayed within two points for most of the remainder of the set, but the Owls took a three-point lead late, 24-21. Young blasted a pair of kills to cut the lead to one, but Kristen Stehling’s second serve during the rally went mere inches past the end line to give Temple the 25-23 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Mustangs return home to the Dedman Center Friday, facing USF at 7 p.m. SMU will host UCF Sunday at 1 p.m. in its annual Dig Pink match, an initiative designed to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research.