Gymnastics: Team fights back for fourth straight

By Sam Donnelly
On February 28, 2014

This past weekend the UNH gymnastics team defeated Towson and William & Mary after struggling early. After falling on beam, the UNH team scored one of its lowest scores of the year, 47.600. The team fought back and score 48.700 and higher on all other events to finish with a score of 194.125. Hannah Braile hit all three of her events scoring strongest in floor exercise with 9.875, while Kelsey Aucoin took first place in floor exercise, scoring 9.900, after falling on vault. 

"This was good practice for the future and a good learning experience," head coach Gail Goodspeed said. "In spite of starting weak on beam, they got determined and not defeated."

 The team now heads to George Washington to face them and Maryland, a team that took them to the brink. Back on Feb. 1 Maryland came into Lundholm Gym and held a slight lead over the Wildcats going into the last event, which was floor exercise. The Wildcats erased a .15 deficit by placing four gymnasts in the top five finishers, giving UNH a 195.450 to 193.950 win. Megan Phlieger finished in first place for the all-around, with a score of 39.100, and first in beam.  

For Goodspeed, the opponent itself is much less important than the women who are on the UNH team.

"We rarely focus on who we are competing against," Goodspeed said. "We are competing against ourselves and that's most important, what can we do better."  

The team watches film of themselves after every meet to make sure they understand what they need to change and see what they do well. Goodspeed will never show them film or scores of other teams during practices. All of their matches are filmed so during other competitor's sets Goodspeed can show them exactly what they looked like.

"Gymnasts always want to focus on what they do wrong," Goodspeed said. "I always show them that what they did was good. They are too hard on themselves sometimes." 

The team as a whole  impressed Goodspeed the most. 

"We stepped up," Goodspeed said. "They got together as a team and got each other ready to go to work."

The issue of health and rest will become important to Godspeed and the women on the team as the season goes on. With a match next Monday then one on Saturday, it's a quick turnaround. Goodspeed will still give them Wednesday off and urges them to rest up. 

"The health of the team is almost more important than practice at this point," Goodspeed said. "In saying that, every team deals with stuff, you have to move through it."

When asked if UNH could win the EAGL conference championship tournament if it started tomorrow, Goodspeed answered with confidence. 

"Yes," Goodspeed said. "If we execute, we can absolutely win."

UNH, who has been on the road for the past two matches, comes home March 8 to face Penn State, George Washington and Bridgeport. 

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