When the North Carolina gymnastics team took on No. 18 Penn State on Friday night, nothing could spoil the Tar Heels’ enthusiasm.
Despite losing the meet 195.925 to 192.975, the Tar Heels felt good about the progress they’ve made so far.
“The routines were, I felt, stronger quality and more confident,” coach Derek Galvin said.
Juniors Morgan Evans and Krista Jasper garnered solid all-around scores, tying for fourth overall with a 38.775.
UNC’s scores were consistent with those from earlier in the season, but Penn State’s high marks left the Tar Heels a step behind throughout the meet.
Penn State gymnast Sharaya Musser posed a big threat for the Tar Heels. Musser scored a 9.95 on the vault —the highest single score of the meet — and a 9.9 on the floor exercise.
The Tar Heels looked more confident on the balance beam than in their previous meet against Maryland. While the team suffered fewer falls this time, balance checks slowly eroded its beam scores, and the Nittany Lions claimed the event by more than a full point.
Sophomore Elizabeth Durkac scored a career-high 9.75 on the balance beam and took third place overall in the event.
“Last week in practice, I stayed really focused on not letting the nerves get to me,” Durkac said. “So this week when I got on the beam I tried to stay calm and stick it, and I did much better than last week.”