After a disappointing loss against West Virginia for their last home meet of the season, the North Carolina gymnastics team (10-6) traveled to New York to definitively defeat the Long Island University Sharks (7-17) 196.475-195.075 on Sunday.
In a dual meet on the road against a fellow EAGL conference competitor, UNC competed against LIU in four events — floor exercise, balance beam, vault, and the uneven parallel bars.
To kick off the meet, the Tar Heels started on the uneven parallel bars for their first rotation, while Long Island began on vault. UNC came out swinging and brought the energy in this first event, with three competitors earning new collegiate bests. Sophomore Kate Greene competed second in this event and delivered a fantastic performance to earn a score of 9.875 and first-year Isabelle Schaefer received a clean 9.925. To round out this first rotation, junior Elizabeth Culton wowed the judges and was the highest scoring Tar Heel with a 9.950. This performance brought North Carolina’s total score to 49.300, while the Sharks stayed close at 48.975.
For the second rotation, UNC moved on to vault and Long Island competed on the uneven parallel bars. Competing third for the Tar Heels, senior Emery Summey performed impressively in this event and brought in a high score of 9.875, which became her new collegiate best. Although LIU suffered a few slips and falls on the bars, the team added the program’s first perfect ten to end this event. Long Island’s score for the third rotation was 47.850 while UNC earned a stunning 48.975. This brought the totals to 98.275-96.825 in the Tar Heels’ favor.
Moving on to the third rotation, North Carolina executed their routines in the floor exercise, while the Sharks went to the balance beam. Although Long Island finished with 49.225 over UNC’s 49.050, North Carolina was able to bring in the numbers in this rotation to maintain their lead. Junior Hannah Nam earned the highest score for the Tar Heels with a 9.875, matching her collegiate best. After these events, the UNC kept its narrow lead of 1.275 with the totals being 147.325 and 146.050, respectively.
To end this meet, UNC brought the energy on the balance beam while the Sharks competed in the floor exercise for the fourth rotation. This event was definitely the shakiest across this North Carolina team as they had to fight to maintain their lead. The highest-scoring Tar Heel in this event was once again Culton, as she strongly delivered and earned a new collegiate best of 9.975 on the balance beam. In the end, UNC came out on top and defeated LIU 196.475-196.075.
Who stood out?
Many Tar Heels stood out and shined in this meet, with several earning new collegiate bests in several events.
Specifically, Culton gave her all in this meet and gave some of the best performances she has had all season. Earning a new collegiate best in both the uneven parallel bars with a 9.950 and on the balance beam with a 9.975, which gave North Carolina exactly what they needed to push forward and win this meet.
When was it decided?
Throughout the entire meet, the numbers were kept close between these two teams, with UNC maintaining a narrow lead. In the fourth rotation, the Sharks started out strong with higher scores and cleaner performances than the Tar Heels. However, once Culton stuck her landing and earned a 9.975 on the balance beam, North Carolina got just what it needed to secure the win.
Why does it matter?
After falling to West Virginia last Thursday, the Tar Heels fell to fourth in the EAGL conference. However, this win over LIU, who currently sits at the bottom of the conference, gives UNC the confidence they need to compete in its upcoming championships and maintains their undefeated conference record.
When do they play next?
After a dazzling win against the Sharks in New York, the Tar Heels will be traveling to Athens, Ga. to oppose the Georgia Bulldogs at 4 p.m. this Saturday.
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