PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The University of New Hampshire gymnastics team opened the 2014 season with Saturday afternoon's 195.075-191.750 loss to East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) opponent Rutgers University at Livingston Recreation Center.
UNH opened the meet on uneven bars, where Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) and Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) shared fifth place with team-high scores of 9.575. The 'Cats produced a team score of 47.275. Rutgers, headlined by Alexis Gunzelman's event-best 9.800, swept the top four bar scores en route to a 48.600.
The Wildcats totaled a 48.625 on vault in the second rotation. In her UNH debut, Kelsey Aucoin (Double Oak, Texas) registered a team-high 9.775 for third place. Adrienne Hill (Midlothian, Va.), who missed all of last season due to injury, earned a share of fourth place with a 9.750, which was matched by freshman Meghan Pflieger (Barneveld, N.Y.). Rutgers, which was led by co-first-place finishers April Baker and Luisa Leal (9.825), won the event with a 48.800.
New Hampshire picked up the intensity in the third rotation -- floor exercise—by hitting on all its sets for a 48.650, the team's highest score of the meet. Pflieger recorded the team's top mark with a 9.775, which tied for third place with Gunzelman. Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) notched fifth place with a 9.750, while Jannelle Minichiello (Tewksbury, Mass.) and Rudiger tallied matching 9.725 scores to share seventh place. Leal took the top score with a 9.900, and Baker (9.825) was runner-up.
Aucoin was UNH's standout on balance beam with a 9.725, which equaled Leal for fourth place, but the Wildcats finished with a 47.200, its lowest score. Gunzelman placed first with a 9.825, which powered the Scarlet Knights to a 48.725.
"The season didn't start the way we wanted it to," head coach Gail Goodspeed said. "After an extremely poor start on bars, we rallied back with great vaulting. Adrienne, Kelsey and Meghan hit great vaults and should be able to consistently stick them down the road."
"Balance beam has been an extremely strong event in preseason, but performances were significantly below expectations," Goodspeed added. "All of these performances will see great improvements as the season progresses."
"Rutgers has an impressive team and they didn't count a fall. It was a great first meet for them, and we hope to regroup and perform at that level for our home opener next weekend."
UNH plays host to a quad-meet against No. 14 Minnesota, Brown and Yale on Sunday, Jan. 19 (1 p.m.). For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.