DURHAM, N.H. - Following a perfect February, the UNH gymnastics team bids to extend its winning streak to eight when it hits the road to challenge EAGL rivals George Washington University and Maryland at GWU's Charles E. Smith Center on Monday, March 3 (7 p.m.)
LAST TIME OUT – TOWSON, Md. (Feb. 22, 2014) – Kelsey Aucoin (Double Oak, Texas) earned a share of first place on vault and floor exercise and UNH extended its winning streak to six by defeating William & Mary and Towson at SECU Arena.
UNH totaled a 194.125 to improve to 8-3 on the season and 2-2 in East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) competition. William & Mary (3-8) finished in second place with a 192.300, and Towson posted a 190.275 to slip to 5-12, 1-6 EAGL.
The Wildcats got out of the gates slowly on balance beam, their lowest-scoring event (47.600) of the meet. Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) scored a 9.700 to tie for second place with Katie Durst and Brandy Stover of W&M and Lauren Ross of Towson. Brittany Stover of the Tribe won beam with a 9.775.
UNH ramped up on floor exercise with its highest score (48.975) of the meet. Aucoin equaled her personal best with a 9.850 to share first place with the College's Jessica Pritchard. Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) scored a 9.825 to match a career best and tie for third place with Towson's Alexa Davis. Jannelle Minichiello (Tewksbury, Mass.) and Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) tallied matching marks of 9.775 to share sixth place.
Aucoin made it back-to-back first-place scores by sticking her vault for a 9.800, which tied with Barile and Brittany Stover. Adrienne Hill (Midlothian, Va.) finished in fifth place with a 9.750, and Meghan Pflieger (Barneveld, N.Y.) amassed a 9.725 for sixth place as part of the Wildcats' team total of 48.700.
The 'Cats closed the meet on bars, where they boasted four gymnasts in the top four. Pflieger took first place with a career-high 9.825, which was followed by Rudiger's 9.800 for second place. Jen King (Freehold, N.J.) set a personal best with a 9.750 to share fourth place with Barile and Brittany Stover, who won all-around with a 39.025. Pflieger took third place in AA with a 38.550.
SCOUTING THE COLONIALS: George Washington competes at home for the first time in 22 days, as it plays host to its annual Pink Meet at the Charles E. Smith Center.
The Colonials (7-10, 2-6 EAGL) have set season-high scores Feb. 10 on balance beam (48.200) and total team score (193.825) since last competing at Smith Center.
Freshman Chelsea Raineri was named the EAGL Rookie of the Week for the second time this season on Wednesday after scoring a 9.875 on vault in a dual-meet at Missouri.
It marks the fifth time this season Raineri, who leads the EAGL in average vault score (9.879), has scored 9.875 or better on the apparatus. The Telford, Pa., native is also ranked seventh in the conference with an average floor exercise routine of 9.810.
As a team, the Colonials are ranked third in the EAGL on both vault (48.739) and uneven bars (48.514).
Graduate student Kayla Carto and senior Kiera Kenney are also ranked among the top-five in the EAGL. Carto enters the weekend ranked fifth in all-around with an average score of 38.412, while Kenney sits fifth on uneven bars, averaging 9.707 per outing.
SCOUTING THE TERRAPINS: Maryland finished third in a quad-meet at North Carolina State on Friday night. The Terps posted a 194.775, which is the team's highest score on the road and third-best overall this season.
Maryland (8-5, 4-4 EAGL) defeated William & Mary. Host N.C. State won the meet with Pittsburgh close behind finishing second.
In the first rotation of the night, Shannon Skochko tied for eighth as she notched a season-best 9.775 on beam to earn Maryland's highest mark on the event. Elizabethe Manzi was close behind with a 9.750 for 11th and Karen Tang hit a 9.725 for 14th.
Kathy Tang returned to competition on vault tonight nailing a team-best 9.800 to tie for fifth. After suffering an injury earlier this month, she missed two meets and then returned last week solely on bars. Karen Tang and Giameo both added 9.750s on the event.
Maryland faced a deficit entering the final rotation and immediately put on a show by posting top marks in the first three routines on bars. Manzi fed off her momentum from beam and led off for the Terps and stuck her dismount for a 9.800 that earned her third place. Jessie Black, who scored a personal-best last weekend, continued with that energy and finished sixth with a 9.775. Sarah Faller followed up third in the rotation with a huge 9.725 for 10th.
LAST MEETING VS MARYLAND: 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 post a come-from-behind 195.450-193.950 EAGL victory Feb. 1 against Maryland at Lundholm Gym.
Maryland took command early in the meet on the combined effort of sisters Karen Tang and Kathy Tang. Karen Tang placed first on vault (9.900) and bars (9.800), with Kathy Tang finishing runner-up in both events (vault/9.875; bars/9.775). An injury sidelined Kathy Tang for the final two rotations.
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): Kelsey Aucoin; Erika Rudiger; Meghan Pflieger and Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) matched UMD's Emily Brauckmuller.
FANTASTIC FEBRUARY: The Wildcats went unbeaten during the month of February. UNH went 6-0 with three scores above 195.000, highlighted by a season-high 195.450 in a victory against Maryland at Lundholm Gym (Feb. 1). The 'Cats haven't tasted defeat since being outscored 194.025-191.725 at Pittsburgh on Jan. 25.
CLIMBING THE POLLS: UNH is currently No. 37 in the national rankings and third in EAGL with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 194.085. The top 36 teams reach NCAA Regionals.
EVENT-BY-EVENT: Senior co-captain Hannah Barile's 9.805 RQS on vault is fifth best among league gymnasts; Kayla Gray spearheads the Wildcats' beam attack with an RQS of 9.815 (No. 3 in EAGL); Erika Rudiger paces the 'Cats on bars with a 9.745 RQS (No. 7), and Erin Machado headlines the floor lineup with a 9.815 RQS (No. 6).
NEXT UP: The Wildcats return to Lundholm Gym for a Fitness Day quad-meet against No. 18 Penn State, George Washington and Bridgeport on Saturday, March 8 (4 p.m.).
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.