The Wolverines walked into the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah prepared for a top ten matchup in front of 15,000 Utes fans.
“I don’t want to say it’s intimidating,” said Michigan coach Bev Plocki. “…it’s a really loud venue.”
The No. 9 ranked Michigan women’s gymnastics team (13-2-0 overall, 9-0 Big Ten) fell to No. 4 Utah (9-2, 5-1 Pac-12) in a close meet, 197.350 to 197.975.
The Wolverines — fresh off a Big Ten regular season championship-clinching and season-high performance — had a meet filled with hit routines.
On vault, freshman Maddie Mariani led off and scored a new personal best — a 9.900. Her score was the first in a string of high-scoring vaults for Michigan. Senior Emma McLean scored a 9.900. This was McLean’s second week back in the vault lineup after being sidelined from the event due to a shoulder injury.
“It’s (her score) a couple of tenths higher than our next best score,” Plocki said. “It’s a huge help.”
Michigan’s best performance of the night came on floor where it tallied three scores at or above a 9.900. Among these scores was junior Maddy Osman’s which was a personal best for her.
On the uneven bars, where the Wolverines started the meet, they had their lowest score of the night: 49.200. Mariani led off there as well, receiving the second-highest score of the rotation.
Michigan closed out the meet on a strong note, scoring a 49.350 on beam. Three gymnasts scored 9.925, the highest scores on the event for the entire meet. One of the scores came from senior Olivia Karas. Karas scored 9.925 on three events in the meet, earned an event title on beam and scored a personal best in the all-around.
“(I want to see) more of exactly what we’re doing,” Plocki said. “I’m extremely proud of us.”
This loss doesn’t hurt the Wolverines’ post seasonchances or overall ranking since both are determined by averages of their scores in home and away meets.
“I would have loved to come away with the W,” Plocki said. “But for us it’s all about our national ranking. I think we’ve got a shot to move up one or two spots after tonight.”
Now, Michigan turns its focus to No. 1 Oklahoma, which it faces in its final home meet of the season on Saturday.
“We’re really excited about it being senior night and honoring two special seniors,” Plocki said. “I love brining top level gymnastics to our arena. If I was a Michigan fan I’d want a ticket to that meet.”