On Sunday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium, Gail Goodspeed earned her 600th career win as the head coach of the UNH gymnastics team. The Wildcats defeated the Temple University Owls by a score of 196.450-194.350 in the annual “Stick It for the Cure” meet. The win gave the Wildcats their season-high score of 196.450, their 25th straight win at Lundholm Gymnasium and Goodspeed’s 600th victory since she took over as head coach in 1979-80.
“If I could take 600 wins and have it be 600 wins for men or women fighting breast cancer that’d be what I want more than anything,” Goodspeed said following the meet. “They came out and performed and I know in a couple of instances they performed for people they were thinking about.”
The Wildcats were led by senior Meghan Pflieger’s career-best all-around performance as she scored a 39.400 and finished in the top two for each event. Sophomore Danielle Doolin also participated in all four events and finished with an all-around score of 39.125, including a score of 9.900 in the floor exercise. Pflieger’s career-high score came from a balanced day as she scored a 9.825 or higher on each event.
“I think [Pflieger] was just ready for the meet,” Goodspeed said. “She’s had a coach that had breast cancer and I think she’s one of these people where this meet means a lot to her.”
The senior scored a 9.875 on both the floor exercise and the balance beam. She was one of five Wildcats that swept the top-5 finishes in the floor exercise, including sophomore Danielle Doolin’s dazzling performance that led to a score of 9.900. Pflieger was the lone high-scorer on the balance beam while the ‘Cats controlled that as well, while winning the event by a score of 49.050-48.575.
UNH outscored Temple in each of the events with their biggest disparity coming via the floor exercise. The ‘Cats scored above a 49.000 as a team in each event while the Owls struggled to do the same and produced their best team score on the vault with a score of 48.675. The Wildcats’ previous season-high of 196.075 at the George Washington University Quad-Meet was topped during Sunday’s meet by 0.375 in large part to the balanced performance from the entire team.
Goodspeed’s team traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina as well on Friday, Feb. 17 and came away with a narrow defeat at the hands of the North Carolina Tar Heels, 195.875-195.075. The loss didn’t deter the Wildcats however, as they rebounded with their most impressive performance of the season on Sunday afternoon.
Sophomore Danielle Mulligan struggled on the beam in that meet, something Goodspeed was happy to see improve when they return to the friendly confines of Lundholm Gymnasium.
“[Mulligan] did an amazing performance tonight on beam,” Goodspeed said. “She missed on Friday night and I think she thought her opportunity was done because she had two falls on Friday night. She got up after Riley [Freehling] fell in front of her and did a beautiful routine.”
Mulligan scored an 8.550 on the balance beam in North Carolina and improved her score on Sunday to 9.835, which was good for third place overall. Mulligan also displayed her elite skills on the uneven bars once again as she scored a 9.900, good enough for the first place finish. It’s become commonplace to see Mullgan get a near-perfect score on the uneven bars as she turned in another 9.900 performance at North Carolina this weekend. However, Goodspeed has a score of her own for Mulligan’s performance on Sunday in Durham.
“I honestly think it should’ve been a 10. It’s hard for officials to throw a 10 and I think she scored a 10 for me,” Goodspeed said after the meet. “She could compete with anyone in the country on bars. She could compete with the Olympians that are on UCLA’s team and Utah’s team.”
With Pflieger, Doolin and Mulligan surrounded by a talented, balanced team, Goodspeed and the ‘Cats will once again be a force at the EAGL Championships in March.
Next up for the ‘Cats, they will host the Air Force Academy Falcons on Friday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium.