Gymnastics Seeks to Stick It for the Cure on Feb. 15 (4 p.m.)

Erika Rudiger

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New Hampshire (4-3) vs Brown (6-5), Centenary (1-7)
  Stick It for the Cure/Spa Day
  Feb. 15, 2014 • 4:00 p.m. • Lundholm Gymnasium • Durham, N.H.
Video Streaming: http://unhwildcats.tv/
Video Commentary: Courtney Connors, Austyn Fobes

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire gymnastics team aims to Stick It for the Cure on Saturday, Feb. 15, with a 4 p.m. tri-meet against Brown University and Centenary College at Lundholm Gymnasium.

UNH (4-3) has eclipsed the 195.000 mark in back-to-back weeks, with a season-high 195.450 in a home victory against Maryland on Feb. 1 and a 195.400 in a road triumph at Yale on Feb. 8.

LAST TIME OUT - NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Feb. 8, 2014 – Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) equaled a season high by scoring a meet-leading 9.875 on balance beam, and UNH claimed wins on all four events en route to Saturday afternoon's 195.400-188.700 victory over Yale at John J. Lee Amphitheater. New Hampshire notched its second consecutive victory to improve to 4-3 overall; Yale slipped to 1-7, which includes two losses to UNH.

"We had great team energy in our drive to hit 24-for-24," head coach Gail Goodspeed said. "We were close last week, with 23-out-of-24, but today we took that next step and achieved our goal."

The Wildcats registered the top six scores on vault; Kelsey Aucoin (Double Oak, Texas) and Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) shared the top mark with a 9.850, which represented Aucoin's career high and matched Barile's personal best. Jen King (Freehold, N.J.) scored a personal-best 9.825 for third place, followed by Adrienne Hill (Midlothian, Va./9.775) and Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La./9.750). The 'Cats totaled a 49.050.

Rudiger hit for a season-high 9.775 on uneven bars to share first place with Yale's Morgan Traina. Meghan Pflieger (Barneveld, N.Y.) finished with a personal-best 9.700 for third place, while Barile and Jess Gracia (Bahama, N.C.) each earned a share of fourth place with matching scores of 9.675. UNH finished with a 48.450 on bars. 

Gray led a dominant beam contingent for New Hampshire, which swept the top four scores and had six of the seven highest marks on that apparatus. Hill (9.825) finished runner-up, followed by Aucoin (9.775) and Erin Machado (9.750) to highlight a team total of 48.900.

Machado performed the top floor exercise routine for an event-winning 9.850. Three other Wildcats (Aucoin, Rudiger, Barile) shared second place (9.800), and Pflieger made it a five-for-five sweep of top floor scores with a 9.750, as UNH hit for a 49.000.

"Special credit today goes out to Erika Rudiger and Kelsey Aucoin, who both continue to get the job done on three events," Goodspeed said. "But this is not a meet for individual recognition, as every team member gave it her best and contributed to this performance." 

DYMANIC DUO: The freshman duo of Kelsey Aucoin (Double Oak, Texas) and Meghan Pflieger (Barneveld, N.Y.) has more than just bolstered the Wildcats' lineup; the newcomers have taken the entire East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) by storm. Aucoin and Pflieger have combined to win the EAGL Rookie of the Week four times between Jan. 21-Feb. 12. Pflieger was the co-Rookie of the Week on Jan. 21 and won the honor outright Feb. 4. Aucoin, who initially was feted Jan. 29, is the reigning Rookie of the Week. At Yale last weekend, the native of Double Oak, Texas, shared the top score on vault with a personal-best 9.850, tallied third place on balance beam (9.775) and shared second place with a career-high-tying 9.800. On the season, Aucoin leads the Wildcats and is ranked 10th in EAGL on vault (9.800 average). 

SCOUTING BROWN: The Wildcats and Bears (6-5) square off for the second time this season. Brown tallied a 192.550 to finish third at the Wildcat Invitational quad-meet Jan. 19 at Lundholm Gym; UNH scored a 193.700 to finish runner-up to then No. 24 Minnesota (196.025). Caroline Morant led the Bears on vault with a 9.750 (T-8th). Alexandra Chretien hit for a 9.825 on bars for a share of second place, with Morant scoring a 9.750 to earn a share of seventh. Both marks topped all Wildcat scorers that day. Allison Rubenstein led Brown's beam lineup with a 9.650 (T-7th), while Morant and Michelle Shnayder each tallied a 9.800 on floor to tie for eighth. Morant finished fourth in AA with a 38.625.

Diana Walters
earned the ECAC D-I co-Gymnast of the Week award Feb. 12. Walters had the best meet of her career against Springfield College on Feb. 9, as she set career highs on every individual event and the all-around. She placed first on vault (9.800), bars (9.800), beam (9.775) and in the all-around (39.050), and finished second on floor (9.675). Her scores on vault and bars, as well as her all-around score, are the third-best in school history and helped lead the Bears to a first-place finish and a season-high score (192.825).

SCOUTING CENTENARY: Centenary College (1-7) of Shreveport, La., makes the long trek to UNH this weekend. The Ladies recorded season-high scores on vault, bars and floor en route to a season-best 189.150 in a tri-meet at Texas Woman's University on Feb. 9. Robyn Price won the all-around with a 38.850; she recorded season bests in three of her four events en route to the title. The senior tallied a 9.750 on vault, a 9.725 on beam and a 9.775 in floor exercise – all season highs -- and added a 9.600 on the bars. Price won beam, placed second on vault and fourth in floor. The Ladies recorded 16 season highs in the effort as Tawnee Hadd tied a season best on the floor with a 9.625. Stephanie Strickler totaled an all-around score of 36.900 to finish third.  

STICK IT FOR THE CURE/SPA DAY: The Wildcats will don their pink-accented leotards as part of their annual Stick It for the Cure meet. The event is free for UNH students; any fan wearing pink will receive the special ticket rate of $3.00. There will be a raffle for a chance to win a $200 gift card to Not So Plain Jane's and a ribbon promotion with all proceeds going toward the battle against breast cancer. Following the meet, there will be free posters and an autograph session with the UNH gymnastics team.

NEXT UP: UNH returns to EAGL competition when it visits Towson on Feb. 22 for a 7 p.m. tri-meet that also includes William & Mary.

BACK AT HOME: The Wildcats' next home meet at Lundholm Gym is a quad-meet against 21st-ranked Penn State, EAGL rival George Washington and five-time defending USGA national champion Bridgeport on Saturday, March 8 (4 p.m.). For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com.

EAGL CHAMPIONSHIP AT WHIITEMORE CENTER: UNH will play host to the 2014 EAGL Championship at the Whittemore Center on Saturday, March 22, at 2 p.m. The Wildcats challenge George Washington, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Towson. Tickets are on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com.

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