Oregon outlasts Azusa Pacific with stellar team routine
EUGENE, Ore. – Leading Azusa Pacific by less than a point entering the final event, the UO acrobatics & tumbling team set a new season-high on team routine and remained undefeated. The Ducks (3-0) smashed both teams in the final event of the night to pull away with a tri-meet victory against Azusa Pacific (1-1) and Quinnipiac (2-1), Monday.
In front of a crowd of 1,242 at Matthew Knight Arena, the Ducks finished with a team score of 280.580 to get past Azusa Pacific (278.36) and Quinnipiac (270.180). UO improves its meet win streak to 24 – a streak that dates back to the 2011 season. The Ducks are a combined 13-0 against the Bobcats and Cougars and are undefeated all-time at home (17-0).
Oregon won five-of-six events and turned in season-high scores in pyramid and team routine. The result was still in doubt entering the final event, however, as UO needed a 99.200 team routine to win the battle of unbeatens.
“That was closer than what we’ve become used to the past few years, so we’re relieved to have won,” said head coach Felecia Mulkey. “Fortunately, we had a great team routine tonight. We’d be having a different conversation right now if not for that.”
Oregon opened the tri-meet by winning the compulsories with a team score of 38.10. UO won the acro (9.55), pyramid (9.80) and tumbling heats (8.95) while scoring the second-best in the toss heat (9.80).
The Ducks expanded their lead through the acro event, totaling a 28.11 through three heats. UO’s best score came in heat No. 1 as Miranda Merkison, Tara Lubert, Briana Teitzel and Kisa Chapman scored a 9.60.
UO entered halftime with a .810 lead on Azusa Pacific after winning the pyramid event. With season-best scores on all heats, Oregon tallied a season-high team score of 29.50 in pyramid. The Cougars stayed close behind, tallying a 29.95 on the event. The Ducks beat the field in heat No. 2 (9.95) and No. 3 (9.90). Oregon’s 9.95 score in the second heat was achieved by Nicole Seybold, Brandy Duren, Krista Phillips, Nicole Erlichman and Lubert.
Behind a 9.70 score in the third heat, Oregon won the toss event with a total score of 28.30. UO’s Chandler White, Zakia Houston, Olivia Campbell, McKenzie Wilcox, Erin Block and Lubert let the way in heat No. 3.
The Cougars of Azusa Pacific won the tumbling event with a 57.61, marking UO’s first event loss of the season. The Ducks tallied a 57.43 on the event with their highest score coming from Lubert, last year’s NCATA Performer of the Year, on the open pass (9.93).
UO led by just 0.61 over the Cougars entering the final event. UO scored a 99.200 on the team routine compared to a 97.600 from Azusa Pacific to pull away with the narrow tri-meet victory.
“It was really fun to be so close,” said freshman Rachael Block. “It was really competitive throughout the meet. We had to keep trying and keep our guard up no matter how close they were to us.”
The Ducks return to action on Sunday, hosting a tri-meet in their final home appearance of the season. UO will host Alderson Broaddus and Hawaii Pacific inside Matthew Knight Arena at 2 p.m. (PST). Alderson Broaddus and Hawaii Pacific, two first-year programs, are coached by Oregon graduates.