Owls win second straight meet

Women’s team was victorious at Penn.

The women’s gymnastics team won for the second straight week in a row on Saturday at Penn, with a total team score of 191.250.

Penn finished as runners-up in the meet, posting a score of 190.550.  SUNY Cortland followed in third (189.650), with SUNY Brockport rounding out the group (187.150).

“I’m definitely thrilled as a coach to pick up this win,” coach Aaron Murphy said.  “And it’s only going to boost their confidence more and more as the season continues.”

The Owls started off the competition on the balance beam, which turned out to be their best event, as they posted a team score of 48.275.  Murphy pointed to his assistant coach as the main reason for this success.

“Our assistant coach [Deirdre Mattocks Bertotti]…she really lies the hammer down,” Murphy said.  “When you’re in there, you have to get those routines done.  She makes you hit, no matter what.  And I think that pays off because when we come to the arena, we do it pretty well.”

Leading the way was senior Sylvie Borschel, scoring a meet-high 9.775 in the event.

“For me, it’s about staying grounded,” Borschel said.  “Just because you do well one week doesn’t mean you’re going to do well the next meet.  You have to stay humble.”

Finishing off the meet was a different story.  Temple posted their worst team score of the meet on the uneven bars, tallying 47.025.

“That’s my event, so I take that to heart,” Murphy said.  “It’s just goofy errors here and there, similar to the stuff I see in practice.  If I can make sure that they’re a little more confident in practice, making sure that their numbers go a little bit higher, and working on some of those skills they have trouble with, it will pay off in [competition].”

The Owls’ second best team score was a 48.175 in the vault, which was led by Brittanie DeMeno with a score of 9.725—another meet-high for Temple.  Consistency was the key as all of Temple’s scoring gymnasts posted at least a 9.550 in the event.

Rounding out Temple’s scores was a 47.775 in the floor exercise.  Senior Brianna Ferdinandi led the Owls with a score of 9.775, good for third in the meet.

“She’s been great, especially coming off of an ACL tear last year, which sat her out,” Murphy said of Ferdinandi’s performance.  “She was able to rehab to 100 percent, and she’s just a really hard worker in the gym.  Just one of those girls that sets the example by working so hard, and she just had one stellar routine [today].  Her charisma is big too, she has no problem showing it off, smiling to the crowd and judges, and I think that helps too.”

Ferdinandi is just happy the team has been able to improve in the event since a couple of weeks ago.

“We started off rough as a team [on floor], and last week we got it together and did better,” Ferdinandi said.  “And this week we just practiced harder and were able to do better again.”

“It was great to come out here and beat our conference champions [Penn] from last year,” she added.

Looking forward, Borschel said that the key is to just keep improving.

“We had our season high, and we counted three falls, so it’s clearly only going to get better from here,” Borschel said.  “Staying humble and hungry … We still have to go into the gym and work hard, nothing’s handed to us.”

Next week, Temple travels to Maryland to face off against Towson University.  Murphy wants the positive energy to keep flowing through his team.

“Making sure they remember how this felt,” Murphy said.  “Remember how our home meet felt, how this meet felt.  I think if you can keep that positive energy and emotion with you, it will pay off down the road.”

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steven.bohnel@temple.edu or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.

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