Once again, the Temple Tem-Cats showed they could compete with the top teams in District 12-6A. But once again, the ability to compete did not result in a victory.
Despite a tight opening set, Temple was swept by Killeen Shoemaker, 25-23, 25-15, 25-15, on Tuesday at Wildcat Gym.
“They have skills,” Temple coach JoAnna Vaden said of her Tem-Cats (2-13, 0-8). “They wouldn’t be able to play everybody as tight as they do if they didn’t have skills. But it seems every time we have some momentum, we shoot ourselves in the foot.”
After getting off to a slow start and falling behind to the Lady Wolves 12-7 in the opening set, the Tem-Cats began to show off those skills, especially at the service line.
With Chloe Prentiss serving, Temple went on an 8-0 run to go up 15-12. The surge included three aces by Prentiss, as well some great saves on defense and some variety on offense that led to several hitting errors by Shoemaker (8-3, 4-2).
The run ended when the Lady Wolves’ Shamia Grandison put down a hard spike, earning her one of her game-high 11 kills.
Temple maintained the lead at 20-18, before Shoemaker went on a three-point run with kills by Grandison and a hitting error by Temple.
The teams traded points to reach 23-all, before a kill by Shoemaker’s Kayla Garmon and an ace by Isabel Nautu closed it out.
“We knew coming here, whether Temple was 0-10 or 0-20, they were going to give us their very best,” Shoemaker coach Meredith Shaw-Moore said. “They showed us that.
“I think after that (first) game my girls realized, ‘Coach is right. Every team is going to give us their best.’”
After having to fight for the opening set, the Lady Wolves came out motivated in the next one, winning the first five points — the first two on Grandison kills — and never trailed.
After Shoemaker built a 7-2 lead to start the third, Temple again showed it could be a force with its serve. A hitting error by the Lady Wolves sent Temple’s Ali Mack to the service line, where she tied it at 7 with four consecutive aces.
Following her fifth serve, which hit the net, Shoemaker went on a 12-1 run to effectively put the match away.
“They make some good plays,” Vaden said of her team. “We just have to make sure we keep going after it, keep hustling. When we have the momentum we have to keep rolling. But we just let our own mistakes get in our way and get in our head. They are playing hard. We just have got to find a way to win ballgames.”
Mack led Temple with eight kills and a block to go along with her four aces. Abi Kinney had three kills. Prentiss and Faith Farbo had six digs each.
The Tem-Cats visit Harker Heights on Friday. Shoemaker has a makeup match at Bryan today and faces Copperas Cove on Friday.