In front of 3,743 fans at Crisler Arena on Friday, the No. 13
Michigan women’s gymnastics team came up on the losing end of
a close match versus No. 2 University of Georgia 197.000-196.300.
Junior Elise Ray shined for Michigan, capturing first place on the
uneven bars and the floor exercise and earning second place in the
overall competition.

Michigan began the meet on the vault. Freshman Clare Flannery
opened the scoring with a 9.725. Freshman Carol McNamara followed
with a 9.700, and sophomore Becca Clauson earned a 9.675. Senior
Christine Mantilia and sophomore Jenny Deiley closed out the event
strongly with scores of 9.825 and 9.875, respectively. Georgia
opened on the uneven bars, earning a team score of 49.200 that gave
the Bulldogs a lead they would never relinquish.

The highlight of the meet for Michigan came on the floor
exercise, during which the Wolverines out-dueled Georgia’s
No. 1 floor exercise team. Four Michigan athletes set or tied
season-high marks on the floor exercise. Clauson earned a 9.825,
while McNamara and Mantilia each landed a score of 9.850. Freshman
Lindsey Bruck then captured a 9.900, setting up Ray, who closed out
the competition with brilliant execution and a score of 9.925. The
team total of 49.350 was just enough to squeak past the 49.300 put
forth by Georgia.

Overall, coach Bev Plocki said she was not very pleased with the
team’s performance. She noted that in almost every event
there were one or two mishaps which forced the Wolverines to count
a score that was lower than what the team would have liked.

Plocki also attributes the loss to problems the team had with
sticking its dismounts. She said the team as a whole has been
taking too many little steps after a landing, which has led to
costly point deductions. Another source of error was on the balance
beam.

“There are a lot of things we need to clean up,”
Plocki said. “We need to get back to the quality of the beam
work we had at the beginning of the season. We have to do more
dismounts off beam, more vaults with stuck landings.”

A recurring problem for Michigan throughout the season has also
been fighting off injuries. On Friday, senior Calli Ryals was able
to compete in just one event. Ryals, who is one of Michigan’s
most consistent performers, suffered an injury at West Virginia on
Feb. 22.

“Calli has a strain right now, and we thought she would be
ready to go on bars and beam, but she landed kind of short in
warm-ups, and it was bothering her,” Plocki said.

“It kind of put Kara (Rosella) in a tough position,
because we had to put her in without much notice.”

Michigan hopes to get back on track next weekend when it travels
to UCLA to take on the No. 1 ranked Bruins. While UCLA promises to
be a difficult match, Plocki has confidence in her team and knows
what it is capable of.

“We’ve got the talent to be great,” Plocki
said. “I believe we can compete with anybody in the
country.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.