AZUSA, Calif.-- After a win last Saturday over Fairmont State University and Quinnipiac University, Azusa Pacific came up just short at it’s Saturday meet against the No. 1 ranked Oregon Ducks, falling 278.47-276.04 in the second meeting of the year between the two teams.
Although Oregon managed to come out on top at the meet, the Ducks were not always ahead. At half, the Cougars led 94.49-93.96 after taking all 3 of the first events.
Azusa Pacific posted over a 9.60 in all but one of the compulsories heats with the help of 13 different Cougars. Freshman Caitlin Borstelman along with junior Kara Meier senior Sanja Stark, and freshman Madi Velling, started the meet by impressing the 1,173 fans in the Felix Event Center with a 9.80 in the opening compulsory, only .2 points away from the starting difficulty value (SDV) of 10.0. Azusa Pacific finished the compulsories with a .1 point lead on the Ducks.
The stunt event finished in about the same fashion, as the Cougars took the event 28.85 to 28.55, putting them ahead of Oregon after 2 events by half a point.
For the last event of the first half, Azusa Pacific took the floor for the pyramid event. In the 60 allotted seconds, the Cougars preformed 3, 2.5 high structures for a score of 28.35. With a small Oregon slip-up on its final pyramid, Azusa Pacific won the pyramid event, and found itself ahead of a team they had recently just lost to a few weeks before.
After the 15 minute break, the basket-toss event, which heats include one skill executed in a layout position, another with 2 synchronized tosses, and the last with 2 skills performed in the air, put the Cougars behind after Oregon posted scores of 9.8, 9.67, and 9.75. Azusa Pacific found itself down a full point after the fourth event in the overall scoring, a deficit it would never come back from.
In the fifth event, Oregon took 4 of the 6 tumbling heats. The Cougars, whose starting difficulty value was slightly below the Ducks in each heat, did relatively well considering what they needed to get. In all 6 of the heats, Azusa Pacific finished within .35 points of the highest scores it could receive. Oregon freshman, Natasha Katzaroff, put together a 9.95 out of 10.0 SDV, the highest score recorded this season for any heat in the tumbling event. Her performance put Oregon up 4.62 points on the Cougars heading into the final event.
After last week’s fall in the team routine, Azusa Pacific put together a clean, 103.742 out of 105.902 possible points. However, the Cougars needed Oregon to post less than a 99.1, which many considered possible after Oregon slipped on a few occasions during their 2 minute and 30 second routine. Despite the Duck’s performance on their team event, they were given a 101.554 out of a possible 107.594 by the judges, barely holding on to post a 2 and a half point lead over Azusa Pacific in the end.
The Cougars will regroup and head to Waco, Texas, on Thursday (Feb 24.) for their second three-way meet of the year against No. 4 Baylor University and No. University of Maryland.