Owls finish last in quad meet

The women’s gymnastics team posted a season-high mark in the floor exercise, despite a fourth-place finish Saturday.

The women’s gymnastics team wanted to bounce back from a disappointing showing last week in a dual-meet loss at Ursinus.

While the Owls would finish last in a quad meet Saturday night at the University of Pittsburgh, they scored 191.225, close to a four-point improvement from their previous meet.

Despite the improved score, the University of North Carolina finished with a final score of 193.500, Pittsburgh scored 194.875 to take the second spot and West Virginia University won the meet with a total 194.975.

Though the other three schools were better, interim coach Deirdre Mattocks Bertotti stayed focused on what her team did. Bertotti stressed her one primary goal during the past week of practice.

“We wanted to gain confidence in them, so we were having them make five make six [routines] so it was just repetition,” Mattocks Bertotti said. “The more you do, the better your timing is.”

Temple posted its highest score of the year in the floor exercise with a mark of 48.750. Mattocks Bertotti said everything clicked with the floor group when it came to the landing aspect of the routine.

“We were concentrating on those controlled landings, and it was just routine after routine,” she said.

Temple piled up the falls a week ago against Ursinus. The Owls had to count two falls in the uneven bars in that meet, but the Owls responded better this time around.

Junior all-around Michaela Lapent observed the change. The Plymouth-Whitemarsh graduate said the team handled its early falls much better, and the team morale was much higher.

“I think the fact that we came back from [the falls] and started over again, and I think watching people hit and know that you’re next and we’re all counting on you really matters,” Lapent said.

The bars ended up being the Owls’ lowest scoring event on Saturday night, while Temple posted a 48.000 on the vault.

Senior all-around Alexis Arena observed the boost in confidence on Saturday night. She viewed the quad meet as an opportunity to carry momentum into the final two regular season meets prior to the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships on March 21.

“I think the energy that our team brought today was a huge difference,” Arena said. “I think we can even go up from here.  This is a good stepping stone for us.”

Nearly three weeks since coach Aaron Murphy’s suspension, Mattocks Bertotti said the team is beginning to settle in, and that Saturday’s score of 191.225 was a good example.

“I personally think the team dynamic was better this week,” Bertotti said.  “They’ve kind of gotten used to the change that has happened the last few weeks. This meet just boosted their confidence 100 percent going into the next meet.”

Greg Frank can be reached at greg.frank@temple.edu or on Twitter @g_frank6.

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