The Tar Heels placed second in a close matchup with East Atlantic Gymnastics League rival Pittsburgh Saturday. With a 195.600, North Carolina notched the highest away meet score of the season to Pittsburgh's 196.175.
Senior and co-captain Elizabeth Durkac and sophomore Haley Watts took the top two spots in the all around competition. With a 39.325, Durkac set a new personal best and topped the competition for the fifth time this season. The closest Panther was 1.225 points off from Durkac's lead.
"We had a great meet, but Pittsburgh had a great meet too, and it was home for them," said head coach Derek Galvin. "The advantage of being at home in a dual meet is that you compete a little harder."
North Carolina kicked off the meet on the uneven bars with Durkac's 9.825 leading the charge. Freshman Lexi Cappalli was behind her, scoring a 9.775. Landing in a close third was Watts who recorded a 9.750. Freshman Josselyn Mackey earned a 9.700 while junior Emily Cornwell rounded out the bars for UNC with a 9.650. Carolina tallied a 48.700 behind the Panthers who earned a 48.950.
On the vault, Durkac matched her bars score with a 9.825 and tied with Watts for second overall on the event. Redshirt junior Michelle Ikoma was awarded a 9.750 to come in third among her team. Freshman Sarah Peterson followed close behind with a 9.725. Cappalli finished with a 9.700 as Carolina totaled a 48.825, falling short of the 48.975 that Pittsburgh recorded.
Next for UNC was floor exercise where the team combined for a 49.200, their highest event score of the season. Durkac again was the top performer on her team as she recorded a personal best 9.875. Ikoma and Cappalli both logged a 9.850 to tie for second place among their team. Watts earned a 9.825, and for her new career best performance, Peterson was awarded a 9.800.
The Tar Heels put together strong routines on the balance beam to total a 48.875 as they looked to come from behind in their final event. As one of the team's captains, senior Maura Masatsugu came through in the clutch, scoring a 9.875 to lead the competition. Sophomore Janell Sargent scored a 9.850 while Durkac and redshirt junior Meredith Magjuka each earned a 9.800. With Watts' misstep, she finished the event with a 9.550. Unfortunately this was not enough to overcome the final deficit.
"I was pleased with the performance for an away meet," said Galvin. "But we still have room for improvement. We can score higher. We can be a 196 team."
Next UNC will take on No. 1 Oklahoma in Sooner territory March 10 at 2 p.m.