8B - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 14, 2000
Intimidateden's gymnasts mauled by
By Sarah Ensor
Daily Sports Writer
Luckily for the third-ranke
Michigan women's gymnastics team
tomorrow is another day.
After a week of excitement and hig
expectations heading into Friday
meet with No. 2 Georgia, the scrip
seemed set for a decisive Michiga
victory. Unfortunately for th
Wolverines, things do not always go a
Michigan fell to the Gym Dog
196.725-195.7, suffering its first los
since its third-place finish in the sea
son-opening Super Six Challenge. Th
defeat postponed the Wolverines
hopes of knocking off Georgia for th
first time in program history.
"I'm very disappointed," Michiga
coach Bev Plocki said. "I'm not disap
pointed in our effort, but I'm disap
pointed in the fact that we had a gold
en opportunity and let it slip throug
Things began well for th
Wolverines, who scored a season-hig
49.35 on the, vault. Senior captai
Sarah Cain won the event with a 9.9
- earning a perfect 10 from one judg
- and junior Christine Michaud gar
nered a 9.875 to tie for third. After on
rotation, Michigan led the Gym Dogs reputation of the two-time defendio
by 0.1 points, portending national champion Gym Dogs. While
success for the Wolverines and giv- Georgia ignored the crowd, the oppo-
d ing the crowd of 2,388 reason to cheer. nent, and the hype to put together a
, On the uneven bars things started to solid all-around performance, the
go downhill. Freshman Cami Singer's Wolverines seemed to be constantly
h fall - and score of 9.075 - left little looking over their shoulders to keep
's room for error, and although the rest of tabs on the competition.
t the lineup bounced back to tally a "I was a little more nervous," Cain
n 49.075, the first crack had been made said. "I think everybody was a more
e in the seemingly indestructible nervous, because it was Georgiaa
s Michigan armor. we've never beaten them. I think th
On the balance beam, things truly was in the back of everybody's minds."
s began to fall apart. Michigan counted Georgia coach Suzanne Yoculan
s two falls and finished with a 48.475, agreed that the talent-laden Wolverines
- its second-lowest total of the year. allowed nerves and intimidation to
e This string of mistakes continued on block their path to victory.
' the floor exercise -- the Wolverines "Overall, I think we competed to
e saw two gymnasts stumble to a season- win a lot more than Michigan did,"
low 48.8. Yoculan said. "I think it was more
nt By that time, the result had been mental strength; it definitely wasn't
p- decided. Michigan trailed Georgia by physical ability or skill. Michigan is a
p- 0.75 points heading into the final rota- more talented team, a deeper team, an
d- tion, an almost insurmountable deficit probably more (skilled) than us. E
h against a highly-ranked opponent. The they weren't as mentally prepared as
Gym Dogs were on a roll, while we were tonight.
e Michigan was plummeting to one of its Echoing similar sentiments, Plocki
h weakest performances of the season. vented dissatisfaction with her team's
in "We started out okay on vault, but it nervousness and level of distraction.
5 was downhill from there," Cain said. "Yoculan came over to me after the
e "We had a couple of falls, which we meet and said that we had given it to
r- haven't had in the past few weeks. It them," Plocki said. "That's very frus-
e was a bit frightening." trating. If (the Michigan gymnasts) are
The most important discrepancy constantly looking over their should
between the two teams on this night because it's Georgia, they're setting
was not in physical ability and talent, themselves up for failure."
but rather in mental preparedness. The Wolverines may not have to wait
Michigan emerged from the Crisler long to redeem themselves -they tray-
Arena tunnel passive and hesitant, el to Athens this Saturday for the see-
clearly intimidated by the power and ond half of a home-and-home series
A poor start on the uneven bars was the first crack in the armor in the No. 3 Michigan gymnastic team's 196.725-195.7 loss
to No. 2 Georgia last Friday in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines will have a chance for revenge in a rematch this Saturday in Athens.
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