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Protecting the house: ‘Cats overcome early deficit in win over Utah State

Coming off of a strong victory against Eastern Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) rival University of Pittsburgh last weekend, the ‘Cats continued their roll in the second home meet of the season.

On Sunday, the Wildcats squared off against a sole opponent of Utah State University. Led by a standout performances from senior Meghan Pflieger, the ‘Cats edged out Utah State by a final score of 195.175-194.075. Pflieger took first place in the all around category notching a 39.125, a season high for the Barneveld, N.Y. native. Pflieger also topped the leaderboard on the floor routine, and bested her previous season high with a near perfect 9.900 score.

Danielle Doolin performs her floor exercise in Sunday’s meet, scoring a 9.250.

Other Wildcats contributed with first-place finishes, including one from Danielle Mulligan on the uneven bars with a 9.990 and Casey Lauter impressed judges with her balance beam routine, earning a first-place score of 9.850. Head coach Gail Goodspeed speaks to the team’s ability to be flexible and not have to rely on a few members to get the job done, a luxury that the ‘Cats did not always have.

“What is really nice this year is this is the first time we’ve had in a long time the ability to change our lineup around,” Goodspeed said. “They’re all training hard to be ready when we put them in the lineup, which is awesome and we’ve not had that in the past.”

Despite coming out on top, the ‘Cats fell behind in the early stages of the meet. Both teams opened up on the vault and uneven bars, and the Aggies as a team beat the Wildcats in both events, giving UNH a solid test going into the final two events. The ‘Cats battled back and finished strong on the floor and in the balance beam events to overtake the Aggies and secure their seventh win of the season.

With the ‘Cats on a winning streak, confidence is high heading into the upcoming meets, but there is still work to be done.

Pflieger took a second-place finish in the balance beam with a score of 9.825.

“We got to clean up in some places. We still have some leg form, straightened legs, pointed toes, all that stuff but we’re in the right spot,” Goodspeed said. “We’re in the right spot to keep progressing this year.”

Next up for the Wildcats is another tri meet, this time on the road in Washington D.C. against the likes of George Washington University and Ball State University. Goodspeed recognizes the ‘Cats’ problems that they may run into next weekend, considering George Washington’s strength lies in the vaulting category, but going into next weekend  the goal will be to perform stronger in the other events.

“The one place that George Washington has us, where we still need to continue to be working is vaulting,” Goodspeed said. “We’re not going to beat them on vaulting, we have to have some more finesse and beat them on all the other events.”

The Wildcats will take on both GWU and Ball State Sunday, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m.

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