PITTSBURGH – Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Adrienne Hill (Midlothian, Va.) tied for first place (9.825) on balance beam, but the University of New Hampshire gymnastics team was defeated 194.025-191.725 by the University of Pittsburgh in Saturday's East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) dual-meet at Fitzgerald Field House.
In the opening rotation, the Wildcats (2-3, 0-2 EAGL) were forced to count two falls on uneven bars en route to a 45.950. Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) was the lone 'Cat gymnast to reach a 9.700 (third place). The Panthers (3-0, 2-0 EAGL) won bars with a 47.800, which included a 1-2 finish for Brittney Harris (9.800) and Lisa Soto (9.750).
UNH turned its fortunes around in the second rotation with its strongest showing of the season on vault, where it outscored Pitt, 48.850-48.775. Meghan Pflieger (Barneveld, N.Y.), the reigning EAGL co-Rookie of the Week, led the way with a 9.825 for second place. Kelsey Aucoin (Double Oak, Texas) recorded a personal-best 9.800 to earn a share of third place. Jennifer King (Freehold, N.J.) established a personal best with a 9.750 to match Hill for fifth place. Pittsburgh's Maebelle Pacheco won the event with a 9.850.
Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) executed a terrific performance on floor exercise to score a 9.850, which held up for second place behind Pittsburgh's Lindsay Offutt (9.875). Rudiger hit for a 9.800 to tie Pitt's Haley Bodenheimer for fourth place, but the Wildcats' team score leveled to a 48.150 due to a pair of counted falls. The Panthers scored a 48.925 on floor for the event victory.
The 'Cats outscored the Panthers on beam, 48.725-48.525, with Gray and Hill sharing gold while Jannelle Minichiello (Tewskbury, Mass.) placed fourth with a season-high 9.750. Offutt was Pitt's top beam performer with a 9.775 for third place.
Harris won the all-around title with a 38.900.
UNH returns home for an EAGL dual-meet against the University of Maryland on Saturday, Feb. 1 (1 p.m.). It will be Staff/Faculty Appreciation Day at Lundholm Gym, with a Kids' Club clinic following the meet. For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.
Tickets are on sale now for the 2014 EAGL Championship at the Whittemore Center on Saturday, March 22 (2 p.m.). The last time UNH hosted EAGLs at the Whitt was 2003, the year the Wildcats claimed their only league championship. For tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.com.