Scores Rise Across Weekend Although Bears Fall to Western Michigan and Michigan State

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When asked how her team has faired in past dual-competition trips, Cal women's gymnastics coach Cari DuBois spoke of an ongoing trend.

"Usually when we do two meets, our second meet is better," she said.

Her prediction was spot-on for this weekend's Midwest road trip, as the Bears improved their team marks on three of four events during Sunday's tri-meet against Michigan State and Ball State just two days after earning their third-lowest overall score of the season in a 191.300-189.650 defeat at Western Michigan.

In Friday's meet, individual achievements were overshadowed by overall inconsistency, as Cal finished under 190 as a team for the first time since mid-January.

Junior Sophia Hocini paced the Bears in the all-around once again, as her 38.825 tied her atop the leaderboard-her second consecutive first-place finish. Hocini also won the balance beam with a 9.700, while sophomore Avery Gee scored a 9.775 to capture the floor routine.

The Bears' lone team victory came on the uneven parallel bars, on which Cal scored a season-high 47.550.

But while the performance on bars was a pleasant surprise, the balance beam was uncharacteristically shaky against the Broncos despite Hocini's individual accolade.

"The beam was just off," DuBois said about the 47.225 output in the event, which she noted was a typically a strength for Cal.

DuBois attributed many of the low scores to hesitancy on the part of the Bears.

"If we are going to make mistakes, we should make them from being aggressive," she said. "We're not going to get better by being tentative."

Additionally, DuBois felt that some of Cal's routines were better than the scorecards indicated-with Gee's floor exercise being one of them. But DuBois refused to be preoccupied with the judges and instead focused on her team's effort going into Sunday's tri-meet.

"What's in (our team's) control is our performance, not the (judges') scores," she said.

And Cal raised its performance against Ball State and Michigan State, posting the team's fourth-highest overall mark of the season (190.725) despite a third-place finish.

The Spartans' overall score of 195.050 was far ahead of the competition, with MSU gymnasts finishing at the top of the leaderboard in all four routines.

Meanwhile, the Bears earned higher marks on the vault-led by Joanna Bennett and Sophia Hocini's team-leading scores of 9.700-as well as on the floor exercise and the balance beam, highlighted by freshman Erica Varon's personal-best 9.825.

And although Cal's only score dip came on the bars, senior Bridgette Glass tied Michigan State's Rochelle Robinson for first with a season-high 9.850.

Hocini once again was the Bears' top all-arounder, but Varon logged a career-best 38.125 total that was good enough for fourth place.

After the Michigan trip, Cal returns to Northern California for competition this Friday against Sacramento State, UC Davis and Seattle-Pacific. The match will be the team's final regular-season tune-up before the Pac-10 championships at Stanford.


Contact Ed Yevelev at [email protected]

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