February 7, 2014

Gymnastics Looks For Second Straight Win at Yale (Saturday, Feb. 8, 1 p.m.)

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New Hampshire (3-3, 1-2 EAGL) at Yale (1-6, 1-2 ECAC)
  Feb. 8, 2014 • 1:00 p.m. • John J. Lee Amphitheater • New Haven, Conn.
Video Streaming: http://www.ivyleaguedigitalnetwork.com/packages

LAST TIME OUT (FEB. 1, 2014): DURHAM, N.H.Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) scored a personal-best 9.850 on vault and added a season-high 9.850 on floor exercise to help UNH complete Saturday's come-from-behind 195.450-193.950 EAGL victory against Maryland at Lundholm Gym.

UNH scored season highs on vault (49.075), bars (48.400), beam (48.925) and floor (49.050) to improve to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in EAGL competition. 

Kelsey Aucoin (Double Oak, Texas) established career highs on vault (9.825, T-4th), beam (9.850, T-1st) and floor (9.800, T-3rd); Meghan Pflieger (Barneveld, N.Y.) competed as an all-around for the first time in her career and compiled a first-place 39.100. Pflieger started with a 9.825 on vault (T-4th), set a personal best on beam (9.850) to share first place with Aucoin, totaled a 9.625 in her collegiate debut on uneven bars (T-9th) and capped her night with a career-high 9.800 on floor (T-3rd).

"So proud of the team chemistry and determination to hit 23 out of 24 sets," head coach Gail Goodspeed said. "Amazing is the word that comes to mind. Meghan Pflieger was amazing in her first meet as an all-around, the atmosphere of the crowd was amazing with the electricity of the 'I believe in UNH' cheer, and it was an amazing tribute to our honored faculty and staff."

Barile, who received the meet's Katie Baldwin Expression Award, earned third place on vault; Aucoin and Pflieger shared fourth.

On bars, Maryland's Stephanie Giameo (9.750) finished in third place behind the Tang sisters. UNH's top bar performers were Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) and Jessica Gracia (Bahama, N.C.), who shared fourth place (9.725) with Maryland's Elizabethe Manzi.

Aucoin and Pflieger ignited the 'Cats beam lineup, sharing first place with Manzi. Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) hit for a 9.800 to place fourth.

The Wildcats erased a 0.15 deficit in the final rotation by placing five gymnasts in the top-3 on floor. Barile finished second, and five 'Cats were part of a six-way tie for third (9.800): Aucoin; Rudiger; Pflieger and Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) matched UMD's Emily Brauckmuller.

"As we were going to floor with Maryland heading to beam, I said 'Let's compete.' After a fall from our first performer, the rest of the team rose to the challenge and hit great sets," Goodspeed added. "We thank the University and gymnastics community for their outstanding support today."

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Yale (1-6) is hosting its third and final home meet of the season. 

Yale has already faced New Hampshire earlier this season, at the Wildcat Invitational, where the Bulldogs finished fourth with a score of 187.500.  The Wildcats were second with a 193.700.  Junior Morgan Traina was excellent in the Invitational, scoring the Bulldogs' highest score on all four events. She finished fifth in the all-around with a 38.550. 

The Bulldogs will also be attempting to better their results from last weekend's Bulldog Invitational. Traina and fellow junior Joyce Li and finished in sixth and eighth place in the all-around, scoring 37.275 and 35.000 points, respectively.  Sophomore Brittney Sooksengdao finished tied in third with Traina on the balance beam, scoring a 9.725.  Senior captain Ashley O'Connor was sixth on the beam with a 9.650. 

Saturday's competition will be the final home meet for Yale's four seniors, as O'Connor, Maren HopkinsNicole Tay and Tabitha Tay make their final home appearances for the Bulldogs.

THREE STRAIGHT TOP ROOKS: For the second time in three weeks, freshman Meghan Pflieger (Barneveld, N.Y.) has been honored as the EAGL Rookie of the Week. Pflieger was feted Tuesday after leading the Wildcats to a season-high 195.450 in Saturday's home win against Maryland.

Pflieger, who was previously named the EAGL co-Rookie of the Week on Jan. 21, competed as an all-around for the first time in her career and compiled a first-place 39.100. The native of Barneveld, N.Y., started with a 9.825 on vault (T-4th), set a personal best on beam (9.850) to earn a share of first place, totaled a 9.625 in her collegiate debut on uneven bars (T-9th) and capped her night with a career-high 9.800 on floor (T-3rd).

UNH has won the EAGL Rookie of the Week award three straight weeks, with Kelsey Aucoin (Double Oak, Texas) garnering the honor Jan. 28 between Pflieger's two awards.

NEXT UP: New Hampshire returns to Lundholm Gym for the annual Stick it For The Cure meet against Centenary and Brown on Saturday, Feb. 15 (4 p.m.). For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.

EAGL CHAMPIONSHIP AT WHIITEMORE CENTER: UNH will play host to the 2014 EAGL Championship at the Whittemore Center on Saturday, March 22, at 2 p.m. The Wildcats challenge George Washington, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Towson. Tickets are on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com.

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