Feb. 8, 2013
Site: Columbus, Ohio (St. John Arena)
Result: #3 Michigan 196.925, #20 Ohio State 196.250
Records: U-M (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten), Ohio State (3-3, 2-2 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Feb. 16 -- vs. Penn State (Cliff Keen Arena), 4 p.m.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- On the strength of an all-around victory from senior Katie Zurales (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South), the No. 3-ranked University of Michigan women's gymnastics team toppled No. 20 Ohio State, 196.925-196.250, on Friday night (Feb. 8) at St. John Arena.
The Wolverines hit 23-of-24 routines against the Buckeyes, before Zurales helped seal the win on balance beam. Michigan led 147.875-147.025 heading into the final rotation and got hits from the first four gymnasts in the lineup, including a career-best performance from freshman Briley Casanova (Dallas, Texas/Spring Creek Academy), who scored 9.875 in the fourth spot. Sophomore Annette Miele (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) led off the rotation with a 9.750, followed by junior Shelby Gies (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) with a 9.825 and senior Brittnee Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty) at 9.850. Junior Joanna Sampson (Willow Grove, Pa./Upper Moreland) fell on balance beam in the fifth spot, so U-M leaned on Zurales. U-M's senior captain hit, scoring a 9.750 to give the Wolverines 49.050 on the apparatus and securing the victory.
Due to being the road team in a dual meet, Michigan started on uneven bars, where the Wolverines posted a season-best score of 49.375. Each of the six student-athletes in the lineup posted scores of 9.825 or higher, including a pair of 9.900s from Pennsylvania natives Sampson and Natalie Beilstein (Butler, Pa./Knoch) to tie for first place. For Beilstein, the 9.900 score was a new career high, a full tenth of a point better than her previous best. Gies recorded a 9.875 to finish fourth, tying her career-high score, while sophomore Sachi Sugiyama (Keller, Texas/Keller) and Zurales put up pair of 9.850 scores, tying for fifth.
The Wolverines moved over the vault, scoring 49.250 as a squad. Zurales had the best vault of the night, sticking her landing cold and receiving a 9.925 score from the judges. Freshman Austin Sheppard (Dallas, Texas/Plano East) anchored the rotation, finishing second with a 9.875 score. Sampson and Sugiyama tied for fourth with consecutive 9.825 scores, while Beilstein counted the fifth score at 9.800. After two rotations, Michigan led Ohio State, 98.625-98.100.
Michigan added to its lead during the third rotation on floor exercise, where it was anchored by Sampson, who scored a 9.925 in the final spot. Beilstein capped her strong night with a beautiful performance that received a 9.875 from the judges, while Zurales scored 9.850. The last two counted scores during the rotation came from Sugiyama and junior Stephanie Colbert (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley), both scoring 9.800.
Zurales finished with a score of 39.375 in the all-around, winning her second crown of the season. Sampson took fourth, scoring 38.725.
The Wolverines are back in action next Saturday (Feb. 16), hosting Penn State at 4 p.m. inside Cliff Keen Arena. The meet will not be held at Crisler Center due to a women's basketball game at noon, which is part of the facility's rededication weekend.
Event-by-Event U-M Individual Scores
Vault Briley Casanova 9.750 Katie Zurales 9.925 (1) Natalie Beilstein 9.800 Joanna Sampson 9.825 (t4) Sachi Sugiyama 9.825 (t4) Austin Sheppard 9.875 (2) Uneven Bars Annette Miele 9.825 Katie Zurales 9.850 (t5) Shelby Gies 9.875 (4) Sachi Sugiyama 9.850 (t5) Joanna Sampson 9.900 (t1) Natalie Beilstein 9.900 (t1) Balance Beam Annette Miele 9.750 Shelby Gies 9.825 (t5) Brittnee Martinez 9.850 (t3) Briley Casanova 9.875 (t1) Joanna Sampson 9.075 Katie Zurales 9.750 Floor Exercise Sachi Sugiyama 9.800 Stephanie Colbert 9.800 Katie Zurales 9.850 (t5) Shelby Gies 9.775 Natalie Beilstein 9.875 (t3) Joanna Sampson 9.925 (1) All-Around Joanna Sampson 38.725 (4) Katie Zurales 39.375 (1)
N O T E S
U-M improves to 40-22 all-time vs. Ohio State. Head coach Bev Plocki earned her 595th career win on Friday and improves to 38-3 all-time vs. the Buckeyes.
The Wolverines scored above their season averages on vault and uneven bars. They came in averaging 49.175 on vault (49.250 on Friday) and 49.215 on uneven bars (49.375 on Friday).
This is the fifth straight meet in which Michigan scored above 49.000 on all four rotations. It has surpassed the 49.000 mark in all but one rotation this season (23 of 24).
Briley Casanova was in the balance beam lineup for the first time this season. She had been in the vault lineup in Michigan's first four meets.
Natalie Beilstein was in the uneven bars lineup for the first time this season. Her previous career high on the event was 9.800, set Jan. 21, 2012, at Minnesota.
Katie Zurales tied her career high on vault (9.925).
Reema Zakharia did not compete on Friday (rest).
Michigan had one meet inside Cliff Keen Arena last season due to the renovations that were taking place at Crisler Center (March 16, 2012, vs. Michigan State). The Wolverines held their home meets there from 1990-2003 before making the permanent move to Crisler beginning in the 2004 season.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki
On the team's performance ... "I really like that we competed well once again on the road. That's always a great sign. What really encourages me is that we had our highest road score without our full-strength lineup. Our strategy about wanting to give our kids intermittent breaks will hopefully pay off, so we can still sub people in without skipping a beat. We were able to accomplish that tonight."
On balance beam ... "We had a few wobbles that I obviously don't want to have, but when you can consider it not your best beam performance without having to count a fall, everything is relative. We'll clean that up. Joanna (Sampson) had a fall tonight, but she is human. In some regards, I'm almost kind of relieved because maybe that takes a little bit of pressure off her."
On Briley Casanova's balance beam routine ... "She really did a great job. We didn't want to put her in the pressure positions. We just felt like we wanted to get off to a strong start with Annette (Miele), Shelby (Gies) and Brittnee (Martinez), which we did. Briley stepped up, no question. That was a huge performance for her."
On Katie Zurales' all-around performance ... "I thought her balance beam score was pretty tight for what she did. She had one wobble on her flight series and a very minor wobble on her sheep jump. Everything else was so clean. That routine could have easily scored 9.850 or 9.825 and still been a legitimate score for her. She's been rock solid on balance beam all year."
On what she told Katie prior to her balance beam routine ... "I told her to have nothing but confidence. You have to slow down your breathing, be in control, take things one at a time and absorb your landing."
On Natalie Beilstein's performance ... "She did great. She's doing what we expect her to do as a senior. She's feeling good. We put her 'E' tumbling pass back in her floor exercise routine and is doing that well. On uneven bars, she did a great job and did a very good job on vaulting."
U-M Senior Natalie Beilstein
On her meet performance ... "It was very exciting. My first event was uneven bars. I'm not usually in there, and I think it was a career high. It's definitely an accomplishment. I'm very proud."
On if the team prides itself on competing well on the road ... "Yeah, we definitely do. We always want to go on the road and have a good away performance. We wanted to try out some different lineups and get some people into competition that aren't normally in there while resting others. We still came away with a good road score and hit good scores for the team, so that shows a lot about our versatility as a team."
U-M Senior Katie Zurales
On her balance beam routine ... "The pressure was definitely on. We hadn't ended on balance beam all season, so it was good practice for us. I could have done a little bit better, but I'm glad to have hit for the team."
On the team's overall balance beam performance ... "We had a good flow going throughout the whole meet. When we got to balance beam, we just wanted to keep it going, keep up the pace and be aggressive. We were a little shaky here and there, but the beginning of the lineup was killing it, so that was really awesome to see. Now we know what to expect when we end there in the future."
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423