ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The No. 20 West Virginia University gymnastics team lost a tight battle at No. 22 Michigan this evening, 194.65-194.05, inside the Crisler Center.
The Mountaineers (5-2, 3-0 EAGL) battled back from a two-rotation deficit and grabbed a 146.075-145.825 lead in the third rotation before two falls on beam in the fourth rotation and a 48.825 UM floor score gave the Wolverines (4-0, 3-0 Big Ten) the win.
WVU fell to UM in all four events, losing vault (49.225-48.75), bars (48.575-48.55), beam (48.025-47.975) and floor (48.825-48.775).
“Despite the loss, I thought this team competed with a lot of integrity tonight and fought through each rotation,” says first-year coach Jason Butts. “This was a fast-paced meet, and we aren’t used to that. I thought the squad handled the change well.
“Though our team total is lower than we hoped for, our season average will go up and this is a solid road score to work with. Now, we need to get back in Cary Gym, work on our slight beam issues and get ready to get back to the WVU Coliseum next week.”
UM’s Joanna Sampson scored 39.3 and finished first overall, while Mountaineer sophomore Hope Sloanhoffer scored 39.125, her third straight 39.0-plus effort, and finished second overall. Sampson’s teammate Sachi Sugiyama scored 38.7 and placed third.
Senior Tina Maloney scored 38.5 and finished fourth, while junior Chelsea Goldschrafe made her career all-around debut and scored 38.375.
WVU opened the meet on bars and trailed UM out of the gate, 49.225-48.55; the Wolverines began the meet on vault.
The Mountaineers hit six-for-six on bars for the second straight week, with junior Kaylyn Millick registering a career-best 9.775 for the third time this season and finishing fourth overall. Sloanhoffer finished second on the team, fifth overall, with a 9.75, while Goldschrafe tallied a career-high 9.725 and finished in sixth place. Of note, freshman Dayah Haley opened the rotation with a career-best 9.625.
WVU made up ground in the second rotation, tallying 48.75 on vault and pushing its team total to 97.3. The Mountaineers continued to trail, as UM owned a two-rotation score of 97.8, including a 48.575 bars score.
Junior Alaska Richardson and Sloanhoffer anchored the team’s vault lineup and finished fifth overall with matching 9.775 scores. Goldschrafe scored 9.75, her second consecutive score of 9.75 or better, and finished in seventh place.
The Mountaineers tallied 48.775 on floor in the third rotation and overtook the Wolverines, 146.075-145.825; UM tallied 48.025 on beam.
Richardson and sophomore Makenzie Bristol tied for third place overall and paced WVU with 9.8s; Bristol has earned the career-best mark three times this season, while Richardson has scored 9.8 or better in all but one meet this year. Sloanhoffer opened the rotation with a 9.775, good enough for seventh place, and Goldschrafe scored 9.75 and finished in eighth place.
WVU overcame two falls on beam in the fourth rotation and finished strong with a 47.975 showing; UM closed the meet with a 48.825 floor score.
Sloanhoffer scored a season-best 9.825 and finished first on beam; the mark is her highest since tallying 9.8 in the squad’s season opener. Sophomore Amanda Carpenter scored 9.75 and finished tied for second place, while Millick tallied 9.725 and finished in fourth place.
With the loss, the Mountaineers fall to 4-16 all-time against UM.
The Mountaineers return home next weekend and play host to No. 11 Ohio State, No. 13 Auburn and Ball State on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m., at the WVU Coliseum. The meet is a “Dollar Day,” with all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas available for $1 each.