The UCSB women’s gymnastics team lost to Cal State Fullerton 194.025-187.500 Monday night at Rob Gym.
The dual meet started out neck and neck during the first event, the vault, yet Santa Barbara was unable to pull through because of the Titans’ strong overall performances and limited personal miss-haps.
"The game went well. We had some falls, a slow start, but I think the girls are picking it up," UCSB Head Coach Megan Fenton said. "[Sophomore] Talia Gamm was able to do her floor routine after spraining her ankle on Friday. … She came through strong."
Fullerton prevailed on the vault, 48.00-46.70, despite solid performances by every competing Gaucho. It was the second event involving the bars competition that set the tone for the rest of the meet and ultimately led to Santa Barbara’s demise. Two detrimental and momentum-killing tumbles by Gamm and sophomore Ryanne Strohm cost the squad points against a poised Fullerton team. UCSB was unable to overcome the virtually perfect tally by Titan junior Joanna Hughes, who received a 9.95 on the bars, the highest score of the event.
During the balance-beam event, Santa Barbara continued to make mistakes. Freshman Heidi Bortfeld fell off the beam for the Gauchos, continuing the ominous tone set earlier in the evening.
During the final event, the floor competition, UCSB’s mood improved because of the upbeat music and the yells of support from fellow gymnasts. Despite their cheerfulness, the Gauchos still experienced mistakes; Gamm and Strohm both fell during their routine, resulting with low scores of 9.10 and 9.25. To add insult to injury, Fullerton freshman Sharon Snell received a 9.9 for her routine and junior Megan Berry received a 9.8.
"Overall, we performed really well," junior Jen Rudy said. "We have the difficulty, but we just need to be consistent. The team continues to progress, [and] we keep on coming together each meet."
After a disappointing performance during her bars and floor routine, Gamm retained a good outlook on how the rest of the season will elevate the athletes’ performances by the time the Big West Championships roll around on March 24.
"The team is getting better and we have a lot of potential; we just have to get in the gym and make it happen," Gamm said. "We have good events, and then we have bad events. Tonight was better than in the past."