No. 3 Utah Hands Husky Gymnasts Road Loss
Jan. 19, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Freshman Cassidy Lance scored a career-high 9.900 on vault, and Washington recorded its highest team score in nearly two years, but No. 3 Utah held on for a 196.725-193.850 win at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Washington (1-2) recorded season-high marks on vault and beam, and trailed by just over one point entering the final rotation. The Huskies' team score of 193.850 was its highest since the 2005 season, and nearly a point higher than its winning score in last week's home meet vs. Utah State.
After falling behind in the first rotation, the Huskies were stellar on vault, their team score of 49.000 equal to their best in any event since the 2005 season. Salt Lake City native Lance, performing before a large crowd of family and friends, scored a career-high 9.900 to tie for second in the event, while sophomore Ashley Houghting added a 9.875.
'Cassidy nailed her vault tonight, it was just beautiful,' said first-year head coach Joanne Bowers. 'She's been wanting to contribute but has been limited by what she could do because of her injured knee. Seeing her face, though, as she ran back to the team after that vault, you could just tell how much it meant to her.'
Houghting then continued her outstanding run on floor exercise in the Huskies' third rotation, scoring a 9.825 to tie sophomore Kristen Omori and another gymnast for fourth place overall. Prior to scoring a 9.925 on floor to clinch Washington's victory over Utah State last weekend, Houghting had never before scored higher than a 9.725 on the event.
'Ashley has matured a lot over the past year as a gymnast and a person, and it's showing in every area of her life,' Bowers said. 'That's great to see.'
The Huskies closed the meet with a season-best 47.875 on beam, highlighted by a season-best 9.775 performance by sophomore Kelly Gilbert. Even a night of season- and career-bests, however, weren't enough to topple the third-ranked Utes, whose 196.725 team score was among the highest in the nation this year.
Still, Bowers was pleased with the effort her team showed in a difficult road environment, and hopes that this meet will be a springboard to future success.
'We're all just so excited,' she said. 'I've never been prouder of a group of girls. They're starting to believe in themselves, to believe that they are talented and that they can go into a place like this and perform well. That's the first step we need to take to get this program back where we want it to be, and it's exciting to see them taking that step.'
Having already faced two top-five opponents in the season's first three weeks, Washington will return home to face another highly-ranked foe in No. 12 Stanford, Fri., Jan. 26 at Bank of America Arena. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.GoHuskies.com.
Quick hits: Washington was without the services of sophomore Raimey Iselin, who underwent surgery Friday for a torn meniscus and will miss the remainder of the 2007 season ... sophomore Kristen Omori returned to the floor exercise for the first time this season after skipping the event at the previous two meets while rehabbing an injury ... Omori's 9.825 on floor Friday was just .025 off her career-best in the event ... junior Nikki Waiss scored a career-high 9.675 on bars.
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