Friday, the No. 3 Michigan women’s gymnastics team traveled to Cedar City, Utah, to face No. 23 Southern Utah and the UC Davis.
The Wolverines scored 195.750 to defeat UC Davis, but were unable to overcome Southern Utah, which scored 196.300.
“I could make 100 excuses, but they would be just excuses,” said Michigan head coach Bev Plocki. “There were a number of things that happened and distractions that I don’t think we handled as well as we should have.”
Though the team connection was lacking, individuals were able to shine throughout the meet. Sophomore Brianna Brown won the all-around for the first time this season.
“It was really cool,” Brown said, “It felt great to help the team in any way I could.”
Michigan (4-1 Big Ten, 9-2 overall) began the meet on bars. Senior Austin Sheppard tied her season-best score and junior Nicole Artz put on a good show, as they earned scores of 9.875 each.
After a somewhat mixed start, Michigan was still in the lead as it headed to beam.
The Wolverines have struggled with beam in the past, and Friday night was no exception. Michigan experienced falls from Artz and senior Lindsay Williams. The team put up only a 48.250 — the second time it has scored below a 49.000 on any event this season.
The Wolverines looked to turn things around on floor — an event where they are ranked second in the nation — Michigan was unable to put up its usual high scores and even suffered an uncommon fall from freshman Olivia Karas.
The Wolverines entered their last rotation trailing by 0.275, and they needed not just to do well on their routines, but also to perform them to near perfection. Even with Karas winning the event and Sheppard coming in second, with a 9.900 and 9.875, respectively, Michigan never found the momentum it needed.
Just five athletes competed on vault, compared to the usual six. Plocki opted to have Artz sit this rotation out after a minor injury occurred during the warmup on bars. Plocki knew the Wolverines’ chance at a comeback wasn’t possible, and didn’t want to risk injuring her further.
The Wolverines scored the lowest they have all season, and they look to regroup before they take on No. 1 Oklahoma on Friday.
“I don’t think there will be any question whatsoever that the girls will be motivated to get back into the gym this week,” said Plocki. “We’re anxious to get back into the gym and get things back to normal.”