The Penn State women’s gymnastics team set a season high for the most total points in a meet for the third time in four weeks, but still lost to No. 3 Michigan 197.725-196.700 on Saturday night in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Nittany Lions broke the 196-point plateau for the first time since 2011. It was also the first time this season the team scored higher than a 49 on each event.
Sharaya Musser and Lexi Carroll both competed in the all-around for Penn State, scoring 39.525 and 38.350, respectively.
Carroll competed in the all-around for only the second time this year and was chosen to compete on each event based on her performance in practice throughout the previous week.
“She did the best on the events this week,” coach Jeff Thompson said via telephone Saturday.
Thompson also noted that Carroll did great on three events, excluding floor where she fell on her second tumble.
Even with Carroll’s fall, the team performed strongly on the floor exercise, an area that had been a problem for the Lions earlier this year. In the past two meets, Penn State has scored a team total higher than 49.150 on the event.
“We started the season with a lot of difficulty in the routines, but we changed it to be easier and that’s given the team a lot of confidence,” Thompson said. “After Lexi fell, Sharaya was able to put up a 9.900. It’s nice to have those anchors in the lineup.”
The Lions also performed well on balance beam, an area they struggled in last week against then-No.9 Nebraska. The team had four gymnasts score higher than a 9.800, while Musser posted a 9.875, a more normal score for her, rather than the 9.225 she received in the last meet.
The meet against Nebraska was a disappointing one for Penn State. After receiving high scores on the first three events, the team had two girls fall off the balance beam, the final event, resulting in a low score for the exercise.
“After last meet, the girls said they would never let that happen again, so they had a stronger focus on practice,” Thompson said. “They just knew they would come in and do great.”
In the meet against Nebraska, Thompson felt the pressure of the crowd affected his team, but noticed a change at Michigan.
“They probably had 2,000 people in their small arena,” Thompson said. “They were right on top of us and it was loud, but it didn’t affect them.”