Ashley Postell scored a 9.90 on the floor exercise.
March 4, 2007
LINCOLN, Neb. -
Though an injury-depleted Utah gymnastics team took a step forward against No. 7 Nebraska Sunday afternoon, it was steps that cost the No. 5 Utes a victory. Nebraska pulled ahead on the third rotation and held on for a 196.675-196.100 victory over Utah, which fell to 8-2 on the season.
Missing as many as three starters, the Utes nonetheless hung with the Huskers through three rotations - trailing by less than a tenth of a point (.075) when they went to their final event. Beam scores were hard to come by for Utah, however, with steps on landings receiving big deductions. Most costly, of course, was the only fall of the night, which came from anchor Ashley Postell. Postell had been tied for the all-around lead going into the balance beam, but never seemed to get in sync on the apparatus and finally tumbled off.
Ute coach Greg Marsden saw some positive signs from his team, even while singling out costly steps. "We didn't have to count a fall even though we had a lot of different people in the lineup, but we gave away a lot of tenths on landings. We did show a bit of fight and I liked our effort. Nebraska did a very nice job and, when you play a good team at its place, you can't make a lot of little mistakes. You have to be at the very top of your game to win and we weren't."
Postell was certainly at the top of her game until she crashed on beam. She and eventual all-around winner Emily Parsons of Nebraska were deadlocked at 29.650, with Postell posting scores of 9.875 on bars and vault and 9.90 on floor.
Marsden's committee approach to his lineup worked for the most part. Replacement gymnasts went six-of-six, with freshman Sarah Shire standing out with a 9.80 floor routine in her college debut on that event. Shire, a Missouri native who had a vocal crowd of supporters in the stands, also scored a 9.825 on beam and a 9.75 on a vault. She was one Ute who avoided the steps that hurt her teammates, although her scores did not reflect her success.
The most encouraging event was the floor exercise, where Utah had been forced to count at least one fall for the past two meets. With three newcomers to the lineup (replacing Ford, DiLuzio and Baskett), all six Utes hit their routines. Utah would hit 23 straight routines before finishing with a fall.