DURHAM, N.H.—The University of New Hampshire women’s gymnastics team responded when it had to in order to pull out a big victory over EAGL rival University of North Carolina on Friday evening in Lundholm Gymnasium (194.5-194.250).
    It all came down to UNH competing in the floor exercise and UNC on beam in the fourth and final rotation. The Wildcats held a small lead after the first three-rotations (145.525-145.150) and needed to hold off a Tar Heel team that nailed all of its routines and beam. However, the Wildcats did the same in the floor exercise for their best performance all year, holding off the visitors, who posted a 49.1 on beam, as compared to a 48.975 in the floor for UNH.
    Leading the way for the ‘Cats in the floor exercise was freshman Keeley Smith (University Place, Wash.), who posted a first-place score of 9.85. The clutch performance of the night was turned in by junior Fairen Plummer (Louisville, Ky.), as she took second in floor with a 9.825, which assured UNH of its victory.
    Freshman Helena Diodati (Scarborough, Maine) once again had a steady performance for the ‘Cats as the top performer for UNH in the vault with a score of 9.775 for third place overall, and she tied for first place overall on bars with a high score of 9.775.
    Another freshman, Taryn LaFountain (Utica, N.Y.), was the top gymnast for UNH on beam, placing second overall with a 9.875. Also posting a solid routine on beam was senior Jaime deMello (Milton, Mass.) with a score of 9.825 for fourth place.
    Junior Beth Bronson (Jacksonville, Fla.) competed in the all-around for the first time in her career and checked in with a four-event total of 38.525 for third. Her best event was beam, where she recorded a 9.775 and she also had a 9.75 in the floor.
    Three seniors, deMello, Heather Moore (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) and Jennifer Jones (Billerica, Mass.) were honored in what was the final home meet of their UNH careers.
    “It was senior night and the fans that traveled through the snow got a great show,” said head coach Gail Goodspeed. “I think a key focus for us was that it was an entire team effort. We had 13 individuals in the lineup. It was great to get Justine Turner back on track in vaulting and on floor and Helena Diodati has been a steady for us on vault and bars. Kelsey Alwin hitting her vault was also great. Taryn LaFountain accomplished two goals with a new dismount on beam and she had a new ending tumbling pass on floor and she did them well.”
    UNH will return to action on March 24 at Penn State along with Rutgers and Yale. That meet begins at 7 p.m. Then the team travels for the EAGL Conference Championships on March 30 at Maryland. That meet begins at 6 p.m.
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