Friday night was anything but typical for the Michigan women’s gymnastic team. The No. 7 Wolverines (15-2 overall, 6-0 Big Ten) posted their lowest score of the season in a 197.000-194.875 loss to No. 8 Georgia (13-4) at Stegeman Coliseum. So far this season, Michigan has seen almost nothing but success — losing only once before in a very close match (196.875-196.525) to then No. 2 Utah.

“It was very disappointing to have a meet like that where it just doesn’t seem like anything was going our way,” Michigan coach Bev Plocki said.

For only the second time all season, Michigan finished the third rotation trailing its opponent, but it fell apart on the floor exercise. With falls on their first two routines, the Wolverines posted a 48.550 — their first sub-49 score since Jan. 28 against Penn State at Crisler Arena.

“We went to floor and the first person up fell on her last pass, and then I think everybody kind of started to panic a little bit,” Plocki said. “And, instead of going out there and competing with confidence and doing what we know we need to do, people started competing not to make a mistake. And, when you go out there with the mindset that you don’t want to make a mistake, you go out there and that’s exactly what happens — you end up making a lot of mistakes. And it just snowballed through floor and into beam.”

Beam also seemed to be a disaster for the Wolverines relative to their usual performance. Not one Michigan gymnast managed to post a score higher than a 9.775 — nothing compared to the slew of 9.800’s they are used to seeing.

Before the beam, Michigan managed to stay in the meet through the first two rotations. But it faced some tight judging, and small deductions started to add up early on.

“We were not sticking dismounts,” Plocki said. “The judges were being tight. And we went over to vaulting, and we started to lose a little confidence, and … we’re taking steps on the landings — just things we know we can’t do. Then it just starts to snowball.”

Sophomore Lindsey Bruck and junior Jenny Deiley tied for third in the all-around, but Plocki was hesitant to point to any individual performances in this meet.

“We win as a team, and we lose as a team,” Plocki said.

Overall, though disappointed with the loss, Plocki felt that it would serve as a reminder to her team that its usual level of competition doesn’t come easy.

“I think the positive we take out of this weekend is that they realize that performing at the level that we’ve been performing at doesn’t just happen on it’s own, that they have to be focused, that they have to be on top of their game and be committed to bringing the level of enthusiasm and energy that they need for competition,” Plocki said. “And I don’t think that we had that (Friday) night. And we, hopefully, learned a good lesson.”

Senior Elise Ray — who won the only event title for Michigan with a 9.900 on bars — agreed that this loss could be good for the Wolverines.

“I think everybody was a little disappointed in how things went,” Ray said. “But, on the flipside, I think we kind of needed a meet like this to kind of keep ourselves in check. So, in a way, I think we kind of needed something like this to kind of open our eyes.”

The Wolverines have just one more meet, Friday at Michigan State to regain their confidence, before the Big Ten Tournament and employ any lessons they may have learned from Friday’s loss.

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