The University of New Hampshire women’s gymnastics team opens its 2009 campaign this Saturday (Jan. 10), with a home meet against EAGL rival Rutgers University. The action begins at 1 p.m. in Lundholm Gymnasium.

Last season the two squads met twice, once during the regular season, and then again at the EAGL Championships. UNH won the first encounter with a team score of 191.475. At the EAGL Championships, UNH finished third in the highly-competitive meet (194.55), while Rutgers placed eighth with a team score of 189.025.

With 12 impressive letter-winners returning and several talented freshmen on the roster, UNH head coach Gail Goodspeed has plenty of skilled gymnasts on the roster to make a run at the EAGL title and another trip to the NCAA Regionals in 2009.

The Wildcats return two individual gymnasts who competed in the NCAA Northeast Regionals as individuals last season in juniors Taryn LaFountain (Utica, N.Y.) and Helena Diodati (Scarborough, Maine). LaFountain placed fifth on balance beam with a 9.875, while Diodati competed in the vault and on bars. In addition, Goodspeed and Associate Coach Ed Dati each received Coach Of The Year honors at the NCAA Northeast Regionals.

The teams’ co-captains for the 2009 season are senior Justine Turner (Salem, N.H.) and senior Lindsay Kovary (Huntington Station, N.Y.).

The coaching staff has also brought in another outstanding freshman class. Alison Carr (Chelmsford, Mass.), Kate McGreever (Saco, Maine), Tasia Percevecz (Fountain Hills, Ariz.) and Danielle Reibold (Horsham, Pa.) will all compete for spots in the lineup this season.

Other home meets of interest to UNH fans this season include a Jan. 31 matchup with the University of North Carolina; The Fox Run Invitational on Feb. 14, which features Air Force, Bridgeport and Yale; a Feb. 28 home meet vs. George Washington; and a meet on March 15 against Michigan State.

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