A strong team showing led to victory for the Cougars.
FAYETTEVILLE -- The No. 28-ranked BYU women’s gymnastics team upset the No. 12 Arkansas Razorbacks, 195.100-195.025, on Friday. With the victory the Cougars are now 10-2-2. The Razorbacks won every event title but BYU’s steady consistent performances on each event added up to equal victory for the Cougars.
“Arkansas is a very good team, they just had a bad night on beam,” BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said. “Our thing is we’re doing a really good job of not paying attention to who we’re competing against. We’re just doing our best on each event and adding up the score at the end of the night so I’m proud of the way we have competed so far this season.”
BYU began the meet on the Uneven Bars. Leading off for the Cougars was Sarah Yandow who stuck her landing to score a 9.750. Next up for BYU was Raquel Willman, a freshman competing on three events for the Cougars. Willman recorded her second highest score of the season with a 9.800. Jennifer Lezeu came next tying her personal career-high with a 9.800. Haylee Rollins and Natalie Eyre anchored the Cougars with scores of 9.775 and 9.750, respectively.
BYU finished the event with a team score of 48.875. However, the Razorbacks also posted an impressive team score of 48.950 to take a .075 lead over BYU after one rotation. Arkansas was led by All-American Jaime Pisani with a 9.875.
While the Cougars' dismounts were near perfect on bars, landings were costly for BYU on vault. The first three vaults for the Cougars were unable to be scored higher than a 9.675. Mickell Merrell received a 9.725 to break the 9.7 barrier and reignite BYU.
Eyre received the Cougars highest score on the event receiving a season-high 9.825 after performing a near-perfect vault until a small step on the landing. Rollins finished the rotation for BYU receiving a 9.800 after another great vault with just a small step on the landing. After a shaky start, the Cougars finished the rotation with an event score of 48.675. Still, BYU trailed Arkansas 97.800-97.550 heading into their third rotation.
First on the floor for the Cougars was Megan Bain whose career-high 9.775 got BYU off to a strong start. Receiving a season-high 9.800 was senior team captain Jessica Villegas. Lezeu followed with a 9.800 of her own while Rollins wrapped up the floor line-up with a 9.775. BYU finished the third rotation with a season-high floor team score of 48.875 to take a 146.425-146.075 lead over the Razorbacks after Arkansas was forced to count a fall on beam.
Despite sticking the landing, several balance checks cost Madeleine Johnson as the senior received a 9.650 to start the Cougars off on beam. Bain was next for BYU receiving a 9.725. Eyre recorded the Cougars highest score on the event tying her season-high with a 9.800. Lezeu helped the BYU cause with 9.775 after her graceful beam routine that was near flawless with the exception of a hop on the landing. Koval rounded out the fourth rotation with a 9.725 securing the narrow victory for the Cougars.