Jan. 28, 2012
TEMPE Ariz. - The University of Arizona women's gymnastics team fell to Arizona State for the first time since 2006. The Devils posted a season high team total of 195.875 to overtake the Cats with a 194.350.
"We fought hard tonight despite having a couple of strange mistakes. Tonight's mistakes were uncharacteristic of the team, but it doesn't change the fact that we made them. Two of our events were stellar, and two of our events were not. Overall, it is what it is, and tonight was not necessarily our night as a team." Head coach Bill Ryden commented.
The team had a rough start on bars, posting a total of 48.050. Despite the low score, highlights came from the team's seniors. Rebecca Cardenas posted a new career high 9.825, tying with Katie Matusik for first place on the event. Deanna Graham also made an impact, taking second overall with a score of 9.800.
"Becca was so focused on bars after the disaster that happened last week; I had to pull her out of the lineup because her warmup was so strange. She even agreed it was the right thing to do, because in her head she just couldn't figure it out." Ryden said, "For her to come back like this, and have such a great routine - kudos to her, especially right after the routine before her fell."
After the first rotation, Arizona trailed behind Arizona State by .825, after the Devils earned a team score of 48.875 on the vault.
All did not seem lost after the second rotation, however. The Cats earned a total 49.175 on vault, shortening the deficit to .4 (after ASU posted a bar total of 48.800). Success on vault can be attributed to junior Molly Quirk, who started the lineup with a 9.800, followed by Cardenas, who earned yet another career high score of 9.825 to tie for third. Sophomore Jordan Williams also posted a new career high on the event, tying for second place with a 9.850. In first on the event, was junior Aubree Cristello, who tied her career high score of 9.875. Graham finished out the rotation with a 9.825.
"I was stoked after vault. The vaulting team was great tonight. I mean, Molly improved two tenths from last meet, and Deanna got a strong score even with a step. The vaulting team really showed up tonight." Ryden said.
Floor was an interesting rotation for the Cats, who earned a total 48.900 on the event. Quirk was first, starting the event off strong with a 9.775. A surprise addition to the lineup was freshman Kristin Klarenbech, who debuted her first routine as a Wildcat for a score of 9.800. Matusik posted a 9.725 on the event, and Cristello absolutely rocked the house, posting a new career high 9.925 to take first on the event.
"Kristin is a great athlete. I mostly put her in because I wanted some information. She hasn't been able to compete yet this year, or perform in any of our intrasquads, so I really had no idea what would come out. I was pleasantly surprised with how well she did, and I couldn't be prouder." Ryden said, "On those same lines, Aubree just rocked her set. I don't know what more the judges could've wanted. The floor team did a great job. The girls stepped up to the plate, and kept us in the meet."
Unfortunately, floor also led to the absence of Graham from the all-around competition, as she went down after her double-arabian opening pass. She was not able to finish her routine, nor compete in the final event.
After the third rotation, Arizona was not out of the meet - holding ASU to a lead of only .45.
The Cats couldn't quite close, however, posting a team score of 48.200 on the final event - beam. High scores came from Cristello, who earned a 9.775, Quirk, who earned a 9.700, and Matusik, who rounded out the lineup with a 9.875 taking first on the event.
"Based on our beam warm-up, I really expected us to rock the event. I was so disappointed with how we competed beam. There really isn't an excuse for our performance. We do these routines every day, and every day the girls nail routine after routine in practice." Bill said, "I know we are better than what happened tonight, and I know we will be able to improve."
Despite the loss, Arizona had some shining moments in the meet. Three routines posted new career high scores, two routines tied career high scores, and Arizona earned first place titles on all four events.
From here, the Cats look to regroup and focus on the upcoming meet against Texas Woman's.
"We're just going to keep working. That's really all you can do after something like this. We now need to circle the wagons more than ever. We've had two very inconsistent meets in a row. Some spots I never thought it would happen, so we just need to go back to the gym and work hard." Ryden said.