March 8, 2014
Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki
On the competition ... "It was awesome. What a great competition. With UCLA and Utah here, everything was so closely matched the whole night. Every team had a great meet. You dream about this kind of stuff. Our young ladies did a fantastic job of staying together in a close competition and that's exactly what we need to do going into the postseason."
On overcoming a fall in the first spot on balance beam ... "This is a pretty mentally tough group. We've trained for it and talked about it at length. In that specific situation, Nicole (Artz) hadn't had a fall the entire season. Part of me is sort of glad that happened. She was able to get it out of the way, which is some ways will take the pressure off of her, but I also think she learned a valuable lesson about what it means to be a part of a team. It's okay to make a mistake because the rest of the team is strong, and they'll have your back. It made it that much sweeter. We were able to overcome that and come back and finish as strong as we did."
On using this meet to prepare for the postseason ... "I've always been a firm believer that you're only as strong as the people you compete against. This is what we work for. This is the fun part of gymnastics. It's so much better, there's so much more energy and hype than if you're going against a team you'll beat by five points. The competition was fantastic. It was exciting for the fans and the athletes, but for our fans, this was fantastic."
On the senior class ... "I'm so proud of these young women. They make up nearly 50 percent of our team. It's always bittersweet. They've given so much to our program and mean so much to all of us. It's not their last time in Crisler since we're at home next weekend, but to be able to have a performance like this on their Senior Night is special and is something they'll have for the rest of their lives."
U-M Fifth-Year Senior Natalie Beilstein
On the difference between last year's Senior Night and this year's ... "They were totally different. This year was more fun, not that I didn't have fun last year, but this one was incredible. We came out here and showed off to the crowd tonight. It was fun."
On if she remembers another home meet with that much energy ... "Maybe one time early in my career. We had Georgia or Oklahoma or somebody where the arena was full with that many people and had that atmosphere. That might've been the only other time in my five years here."
On how the team is looking for the postseason ... "The only thing we need to do is hit all four events solid. So far, we've had three good events or we've had to come back from an event that wasn't so good. If we can be consistent on all four events, we'll be fine. Lately, we've been doing well when having to come back from adversity. I think we'll come out strong next weekend."
On floor exercise ... "It was a lot of fun. We love floor. We always have energy there. We always say that it's our house, our party and our time to shine. The crowd gets into it with us. The energy was great tonight. We appreciate all of the fans that we have, from our parents right down to the little kids."
U-M Senior Joanna Sampson
On the meet ... "Everything was so exciting. We got the team together last night and talked about it. We wanted to put all of our energy towards everybody's routines and I think it definitely showed. We obviously came out with a great team score, so there has to be something to it."
On her individual all-around performance ... "Overall, I'd say it was one of the better performances I've had all season, which is great. There were little things here and there that have held me back. It was nice to get back out there on bars and do what my team needed me to do, what I do every day in practice. That's what's important. I'm happy with how it turned out."
On returning to Crisler and the differences between home and road meets ... "It was weird. After being on the road for three weeks, last week felt like it was one of our first times at Crisler. We were gone for so long. We hadn't been at home that much. Crisler Center is really awesome. It's such a great place filled with all of our fans and it's so welcoming. It's hard to describe, but it's exciting to be back."
On going through Senior Night ceremonies ... "Emotional, especially because we're a very emotional group of people. We cry about a lot of things. We've been crying for weeks about this. To be actually out there; I think the video got us. It brought tears to our eyes. At the same time, we're home next week. That's our last time at Crisler and that'll surely be different. When we finish up our last routines, you might see some tears then."
On floor exercise ... "Sachi (Sugiyama) started us off so strong and did what we needed her to do. It's probably the best she's done all season. I think as a group, we're peaking at the right time. Everyone out there used the energy gained from the person before. The scoring stayed consistent. We had good routines. For me, knowing my teammates stepped up takes the stress off. I can just go out there, not worry about it and just do my routine."
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