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GYM: Tar Heels fall just short to Terrapins in EAGL rematch

Posted February 22

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— The North Carolina gymnastics team (6-7, 4-4 EAGL) battled hard against Maryland (7-3, 3-2 EAGL) tonight in College Park, but fell just short of a victory. The Terrapins narrowly defeated the Tar Heels by a score of 194.925 to 194.425, extending their undefeated record at home to 7-0.

Tonight was the second meeting of the two teams this season, and Maryland took advantage of the rematch to redeem itself from the initial loss it suffered to UNC on Jan. 26. In Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels outscored the Terps 194.700 to 192.300. However, the Heels have since lost two key competitors, Michelle Ikoma and Christina Pheil, to injuries and have been struggling to put together healthy lineups.

“The athletes who have stepped up for us recently have done a great job, but our scoring potential is just not as high [without Ikoma and Pheil],” said Head Coach Derek Galvin. “Regardless, I’m happy to see the way the team fought for everything tonight. It was one of our better team performances this season, and our highest away meet score.”

“What I’m most proud of is that the team really stayed focused and pushed themselves throughout the entirety of the meet. Maryland just had a little bit more depth than we did,” Galvin added.

To recap the events, North Carolina took to the uneven bars for its first rotation of the night. The team totaled a score of 48.925, a half of a point higher than its average, to gain a healthy lead over Maryland, who scored almost a whole point lower on vault with a 48.050. Lexi Cappalli scored highest for the Heels and finished second overall with a 9.850. Haley Watts posted a 9.825 to tie for third, freshman Megan Marenghi scored a 9.775, and Sarah Peterson added a 9.750. Josselyn Mackey stepped up to earn a 9.725 and Acacia Cosentino contributed a 9.125.

The Tar Heels next moved onto vault, where the judging, although consistent, was very low for both teams. Peterson started off for Carolina, scoring a 9.675 and finishing third. Watts earned a 9.725 to tie for first with Maryland’s star Stephanie Giameo. Kristin Aloi posted a 9.525, Cappalli a 9.475, Mackey a 9.450 and Margaret Brown a 9.375. At the same time, Maryland was able to step it up on bars to close the deficit resulting from its first performance on vault. At the end of the second rotation, UNC trailed Maryland 96.775 to 96.075.

On floor, the Tar Heels totaled a score of 48.800 to help narrow the Terps’ lead. Cappalli led the team with a 9.850 and third place finish. Aloi’s routine earned a 9.800 and Watts posted a 9.775 to edge the Heels. Meredith Magjuka scored a 9.725, Cosentino scored a 9.650 and Peterson added a 9.525.

For its fourth and last rotation of the night, North Carolina competed on the balance beam. The Heels won the event for its second week in a row. It was Janell Sargent, the team’s relentless anchor, who scored highest with a 9.850 to finish second overall. Marenghi placed third with a 9.825, her new personal best, while Mackey and Watts each scored a 9.750.

In the all-around, Watts placed second with a combined score of 39.075 and Cappalli took third with a 38.850. Both of Carolina’s competitors finished behind Maryland’s Giameo, who earned a 39.125 to win the all four events for her third consecutive meet.

“We competed well. The difference was just depth,” said Galvin. “But we have three days of training next week, and we’re looking forward to competing at home with a healthier team next Friday night.”

The Tar Heels will welcome Towson University to Chapel Hill next Friday for their last home meet of the season. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Carmichael Arena.

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