After a tough loss last Sunday to No. 1 rival Michigan, the Spartans came back strong against the Maryland Terrapins, winning 196.875-195.85
Athletes and spectators took a moment to celebrate all of MSU’s female athletes in honor of National Day of Girls and Women in Sports last Wednesday, with a special appearance from the rowing, softball, , field hockey and MSU volleyball near the start of the game.
“Every day we use social media to broadcast different elements of the day,” Michigan State head coach Mike Rowe said. “This is the first year we’ve done this for National Girls and Women in Sport Day. This year the intention was to increase public awareness and each year we will try to inspire ourselves a little more.
The encounter started quickly as the Spartans started on the vault where the seniors Ashley Hofelich earned his career-high score of 9.925, contributing to the team’s best overall jump score of the season of 49.275
“It was an electric feeling to reach that career high,” Hofelich said. “From all the reps and the work we put in the gym to hit those landings, I felt it and blocked the landing. It’s about trusting your training and it’s a nice feeling when that hard work pays off.
MSU moved to uneven parallel bars for its second event of the evening. It started hard for the Spartans when they were in second year Baleigh Garcia fell, but came back with her head held high. After Garcia, senior Leah Mitchell and junior Jori Jackard tied their career-best scores of 9.9 and 9.925.
“I’m super excited about my score. It’s such an honor to be able to come back for a fifth year, especially after the last two seasons. It’s great to come out and compete with this amazing team,” Mitchell said.
The girls then moved on to the balance beam where they made great progress. First-year student Gabrielle Stephane stunned the audience with a career high of 9.95.
“I’m thrilled with the results tonight,” Rowe said. “The fact that we got the Big Ten win was nice. Maryland is a great competition and for us to do what we did and increase the program score for the season was great.
Michigan State ended the evening on the floor where it posted its lowest score of the night of 49.050. The team had a few falls during this event, which resulted in lower than normal scores.
“We had big highs in places we didn’t initially see all the time and unusual drops in some places, but it seemed like the rest of the formation was supporting each other anyway and we kept going” , Rowe said. . “That’s what they’re trained to do and when it works like that, it’s excellent.”
MSU finished the game with its season-best overall score of 196.875 and its first Big Ten conference victory.
The Spartans will spend the week training and preparing for next weekend’s competition.
“Next week is a two-game weekend for us. We’re in Central Michigan on Friday and back here with Illinois on Sunday, so we need to think about resting some of our all-rounders for maybe Friday so we can go for that Big Ten counter on Sunday,” Rowe said. . “We’re going to have to be careful how we train this week.”
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