EUGENE, Ore. -- The No. 3-ranked Azusa Pacific was upset in the opening round of the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association Championship Tournament, falling to No. 6 Quinnipiac University, 274.113 to 273.882, Thursday evening in the Matthew Knight Arena on the campus of the University of Oregon.
The Cougars, who earlier this year beat Quinnipiac by a hefty 9 points in a meet in Azusa, never could distance themselves from the Bobcats the entire competition. Azusa Pacific led by just 0.03 on a point at halftime, winning both the compulsories and the stunt heats. However, Quinnipiac took the pyramid by .6 of a point to keep the Cougars within reach.
In the opening event of the second half, the Cougars hiccupped on the first heat of the basket toss, and Quinnipiac took advantage, out-scoring Azusa Pacific by .12 of a point in the event to take the overall lead in the meet for the first time.
Azusa Pacific came back to re-take the lead following the 6-event tumbling in which the Cougars out-scored the Bobcats by more than a point. In fact, the Cougars assumed a 1.10 lead in the overall match, and it was going to take a herculean effort for Quinnipiac to overtake Azusa Pacific in the final event – the team routine.
Back on the Feb. 5 meet in Azusa, the Cougars out-scored Quinnipiac by 2 points in the team routine. Tonight, however, the Bobcats put together one of the their best team routines of the year, scoring 102.628 points, and when the Cougars answered with 101.302 in their routine, Quinnipiac, secured its biggest victory in the program’s young history, upsetting Azusa Pacific by .231 of a point.
Azusa Pacific’s team-competition abruptly comes to an end at nationals, and the Cougars close the season at 3-5. Selected Cougars will compete in Saturday’s event competitions. Quinnipiac, now 2-5 on the season, will take on No. 2-ranked University of Maryland in Friday’s semifinals.