RALEIGH, N.C. – Despite persevering through an early deficit, the No. 18 West Virginia gymnastics team suffered a close 194.55-194.475 defeat at No. 10 NC State, this evening at Reynolds Coliseum.
Though the team fell behind 0.5 points in the first rotation, the Mountaineers (2-2, 0-1 EAGL) persevered in a hostile environment and outscored the Wolfpack (1-1, 1-0 EAGL) in the meet’s last three rotations for the near win.
“I thought it was a good comeback from our meet at Georgia,” says 37-year coach Linda Burdette-Good. “This was a fast-paced meet, yet we stayed focused and performed well in a loud arena. This team was persistent and cheered each other on the whole night. Without a doubt, this is the most united the team has been in a long time.”
WVU earned victories on beam (48.5-48.375) and floor (48.775-48.6), while the Wolfpack scored the vault (48.875-48.8) and bars (48.7-48.4) wins.
Senior Amy Bieski scored 9.7 or better on all four events and finished first overall with a season-best 39.1 score, the third 39.0-plus mark of the season for the Nanticoke, Pa., native. With tonight’s point total, Bieski passes both Karla Hairston (1993-96) and Mehgan Morris (2006-09) on the all-time WVU career points list and now ranks 12th all-time with 1,629.775 points. She needs 7.175 points to pass NCAA individual qualifier TeShawne Jackson (2000-03), an attendee at tonight’s meet.
Sophomore Kaylyn Millick finished second overall with a season-high 38.825 score, while NCSU’s Stephanie Ouellette placed third with 38.775 points.
Though the Mountaineers fell behind, the team enjoyed one of its most-solid bars rotations of the season, scoring 48.4 to open the meet. The Wolfpack scored the early advantage with a 48.875 vault showing.
For the second straight meet, senior Emily Kerwin paced the Mountaineers on bars and anchored the lineup with a career-high 9.8 score, good enough for a second-place finish; the Central, S.C., native has now earned the score three times. Millick and Roach finished second on the team, and fourth overall, with matching 9.725 marks.
WVU chipped away at NCSU’s lead in the second rotation, scoring 48.8 on vault and pushing its team total to 97.2. The Wolfpack earned 48.7 on bars and retained the lead with a 97.575 team score.
Bieski earned her first event win of the night on vault, tying NCSU’s Brittany Vontz for the victory with a season-best 9.825 score. Freshman Hope Sloanhoffer finished behind Bieski in the lineup and on the podium, placing third with a 9.8. Additionally, sophomore Chelsea Goldschrafe finished sixth overall with a career-best 9.775 score; the mark was the meet’s third best.
WVU overtook NCSU in the third rotation, 145.975-145.95, with a 48.775 floor showing. The Wolfpack relinquished their lead with a 48.375 beam score.
Sloanhoffer and Bieski, the Mountaineers’ floor anchors, paced the rotation and tied Ouellette for first place with 9.825 scores. Goldschrafe and Millick preceded the duo at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, respectively, and tallied 9.725 points each; the score is a season best for Millick.
Though the Mountaineers’ 48.5 beam showing was their second best of the season, it was not enough to hold on to the lead, as NCSU tallied 48.6 on floor to earn the win.
With a 9.85 score in the anchor position, Sloanhoffer finished first on beam, while Bieski and Millick placed third with 9.75 scores.
Despite tonight’s loss, WVU still owns a 22-13 series advantage over NCSU and an all-time 251-63-3 record over league competition.
After two road meets in five days, the Mountaineers return to the WVU Coliseum on Saturday, Jan. 29, and play host to EAGL foes Pitt and Rutgers, at 7 p.m.