The North Carolina gymnastics team didn’t have to wait long for a shot at redemption.
Less than a week after falling to league rival Maryland in a three-team meet in College Park, Md., the Tar Heels faced the Terrapins again Friday in a head-to-head matchup.
This time, at Carmichael Arena, the result was different. The Tar Heels edged the Terrapins 195.225-192.600, posting a season-high overall score in the victory.
“It was definitely our strongest performance so far this year,” coach Derek Galvin said. “The energy level of the team was the best that I’ve seen so far. The first three meets were good, but we needed a breakthrough meet and this was it.”
Senior Morgan Evans and junior Elizabeth Durkac continued to lead the way for the Tar Heels, taking first and second place, respectively, in the all-around. Durkac’s all-around title Feb. 5 at Maryland earned her East Atlantic Gymnastics League gymnast of the week honors.
Galvin said performing at home Friday was an advantage for the Tar Heels.
“It’s hard to compete away. We found that out last week at Maryland, and they found it out this week here,” Galvin said.
Galvin was also impressed with the lively atmosphere in Carmichael Arena.
“With the band, Fever and all the spectators, it was the most energy we’ve had in Carmichael Arena for a gymnastics meet ever,” Galvin said.
“When you have that kind of energy, it’s going to bring out a stronger performance from the gymnasts. And it makes it tougher for a visiting team to come in here. It’s hard to match that level of energy when you’re the visiting team.”
The Tar Heels’ most impressive event of the night came on the balance beam, which had been a point of weakness in previous meets. Junior Maura Masatsugu set the example with a personal-best 9.9 out of 10.
“I was just trying to focus on having confidence because I struggled with that the last couple of meets,” Masatsugu said. “As the routine kept going, my energy kept building, and I just kept getting more excited, so when I stuck my dismount it was just a great feeling.”
The Tar Heels had struggled recently against Maryland, dropping four of their last five meetings.
“As a team, we’ve all been trying to work on our confidence,” Masatsugu said.
“In practice we focus on cheering each other on and knowing that we can all do it together. In our huddle before the meet, we said, ‘Just go out and try your hardest and don’t leave anything out there,’ and that’s what we did.”
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