Mistakes trip women, team falls to OSU

By Jessica Warchall

The Illini failed to keep the momentum rolling from their last two victories as they fell to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday. No. 21 Illinois committed too many small mistakes as it allowed No. 25 Ohio State to pull away with a 193.375-192.875 win.

“We had some situations that we have never had to deal with before,” head coach Bob Starkell said. “We had to rest two individuals so we had to make some real drastic changes, but the team still wanted to do really well so they put more pressure on themselves.”

Starkell had to pull sophomores Krystal Melcarek and Michelle McGrady out of the lineup due to nagging injuries. Because of the lineup changes and many small mistakes, Starkell said the Illini were not as sharp as they have been in previous meets.

“On the first event things looked very conservative and very tight,” Starkell said. “Things were not as fluid as the week before.”

The Illini began the meet on bars where junior co-captain Cara Pomeroy achieved a 9.800 to win the event. Junior Danye Botterman and freshman Marijka Botterman followed Pomeroy and each came away with a 9.625. The Illini finished the event scoring a 48.200.

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“The scores just weren’t going our way, and we just didn’t end up quite as well as we had hoped,” Pomeroy said. “That brought down our excitement a little bit.”

Illinois then moved to vault where they managed a team score of 48.025. Marijka Botterman finished second on the event with a 9.750. Freshman Lindsey Smith came in fourth with a 9.675, and Danye Botterman followed her in fifth with a 9.600.

The Illini showed promise on floor with three gymnasts scoring at or above a 9.700. Danye Botterman finished third with a 9.750, and freshman Julie Crall placed fourth with a 9.725. Senior co-captain Katie Wild achieved a 9.700 to help the team score a 48.525.

“Going into the last event, Ohio State was on floor – they have five seniors on the team – everything was lined up well for them so they took advantage of it,” Starkell said. “For us it’s our beam against their floor; we fell a little short.”

Illinois finished the meet on beam where Pomeroy placed second with a 9.700. Wild and Marijka Botterman rounded out the Illini top three with a 9.675 and a 9.650, respectively. The Illini scored a 48.100.

The Illini were unable to win any of the four events, but Starkell said he was satisfied with the upperclassmen’s performances even without the contributions from the injured sophomores.

Marijka Botterman, though, carded her first career all-around title with a score of 38.675.

“It was fun to get (the title), but overall our team didn’t do as well as we were hoping,” Marijka Botterman said. “Going into the meet we were confident that we were going to do well, but it just didn’t happen.”

The Illini will prepare to face Michigan State on March 11 at 2 p.m. at Huff Hall. This meet will serve as senior day for Illinois’ two seniors, Emily Earle and Wild, as it is the Illini’s last home meet of the season.