(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
SALT LAKE CITY -- The Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City was rocking on Friday night as the No. 35 BYU Cougars and the No. 11 Utah Utes met for the second time this season. The Utes were victorious in the meet winning 196.950-195.825 despite the Cougars posting a season-high team score.
The Utes broke an NCAA record for the highest attendance in any women’s sport in 2009-2010 with over 15,000 fans in attendance Friday.
“I was really pleased with our team tonight,” BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said following the meet. “We struggled a bit on vault and floor but we still scored our highest this year. We always look forward to coming here every year.”
Senior Megan Donehue agreed that the crowd only adds to the excitement of the meet.
“I love it,” Donehue said. “Some people may say that competing here is intimidating but I think it just makes the meet so much fun.”
In the first rotation, the Cougars came out strong hitting every routine on the uneven bars with the exception of one fall. Natalie Eyre and Donehue paced BYU both scoring career-highs on the event scoring 9.875 each. Danielle Goldman was not far behind, also performing a career-best 9.825. The Utes also had a successful first rotation on the vault as they also hit every routine except one. Both teams were able to drop their lowest scores and after the first rotation Utah led 49.350-49.075.
The second rotation brought added success for both teams. Despite not receiving their highest vault scores of the season, the Cougars turned in a solid score of 48.900. BYU was led by Goldman who tied her career-high of 9.825. Goldman was closely followed by Eyre who scored a 9.800. At the conclusion of the second rotation BYU trailed 98.775-97.975.
Each team struggled in the third rotation. The Utes encountered two falls on the balance beam while the Cougars had two gymnasts step out of bounds on the floor exercise. However, both teams continued to give their best throughout the rotation and finished the rotation strong. Goldman anchored the Cougars and gave BYU their highest score on the event with a 9.800. Mickell Merrell and Haylee Rollins also made a strong contribution to the Cougar cause scoring 9.775 each. After three rotations Utah hung onto their lead, ahead 147.400-146.650.
Both BYU and the Utes finished the meet strong with the Cougars on the balance beam and Utah on the floor exercise. Donehue led BYU with a career-high 9.900 and three other Cougars scored a 9.800 or higher. BYU did not have to count a fall on the event and finished with their highest score on the beam this season with a 49.175.
“We have a good group of beam workers this season,” Cattermole said. “They don’t get rattled easily and perform consistently.”
The season-high should secure the Cougars spot at NCAA Regionals later this month. More information will be posted here as it is released.