Ann Arbor, Mich. - The No. 7 Nebraska women's gymnastics team earned several strong individual performances but was unable to overpower 10th-ranked Michigan, falling by a score of 196.900-196.300 on Saturday afternoon. Nebraska captured three event titles at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., against the Wolverines. NU saw multiple excellent early-season performances that point to a bright season for the defending conference champions.
"I thought we did a good job tonight--I really did," Head Coach Dan Kendig said. "We stayed together as a team and competed well. For our first meet out, we did a really nice job."
Returning All-Americans Jessie DeZiel and Emily Wong anchored Nebraska's performance, finishing with identical all-around scores of 39.375. Wong finished in ties for first on floor (9.925) and second on beam (9.90) to earn a second-place award in all-around competition. DeZiel added a 9.875 on bars, which tied her for third on the afternoon. Junior Jamie Schleppenbach earned the vault title with a solid 9.875. Sophomore Jennifer Lauer also made a huge impact in her all-around debut for the Huskers, finishing at 39.200. Her performance included a career-best 9.95 on beam that earned her the individual event title on the day.
"If anything stands out on the day, it's Jen's beam routine and her all-around performance," Kendig said. "She works so hard and is so humble, so she deserves this. I hope this will continue to pull her to bigger and better things."
NU kicked off the afternoon on bars, scoring a 48.950. The Huskers were paced by a solid 9.875 from DeZiel, which tied for third overall on the day. Jennifer Lauer made her bars debut for the Huskers, posting a 9.825, while Wong picked up a 9.80 for the Big Red. After battling injuries that sidelined her for two seasons, senior Kassandra Nathe returned to competition for the Huskers, earning a 9.75 on bars.
Michigan picked up a 49.000 on vault in their first rotation, led by Sachi Sugiyama with a 9.825. Following the first rotation, the Wolverines narrowly led Nebraska by a score of 49.000-48.950.
The Husker moved to vault, traditionally one of Nebraska's strongest events. NU picked up a team score of 48.950 on the afternoon, led by Schleppenbach's meet-best 9.875. Desire' Stephens, DeZiel and Giblin all added identical marks of 9.775, and Wong chipped in a 9.75 for the Huskers.
The Wolverines posted a 49.250 on bars, paced by 9.90 from Katie Zurales. Michigan maintained their lead after two rotations, holding a 98.350-97.900 advantage over the Huskers.
NU took to floor for their third event on the afternoon, where the team put together a solid score of 49.075. Wong earned a strong early-season score at 9.925, while DeZiel captured a 9.875. Stephens picked up a 9.775 for the Big Red alongside identical scores of 9.75 from Lauer and Schleppenbach.
Michigan earned a 49.175 on beam in the third rotation, with Zurales leading at 9.90. With only one rotation remaining, the Huskers trailed the Wolverines by a score of 147.525-146.975.
Nebraska performed on beam for their final rotation, where Lauer powered the Huskers to a stellar early-season team score of 49.325. Lauer's 9.95 was a career-best and earned her the event title on the day; Wong finished close behind at 9.90. A late add to the beam lineup, DeZiel picked up a 9.85, while Giblin posted a 9.825.
Despite their strong beam performance, the Huskers were unable to catch up with the Wolverines, who posted a 49.375 on floor to seal their victory. Michigan's Joanna Sampson took the all-around title at 39.400.
Nebraska will return to Lincoln next weekend for their home opener. The Huskers will host the Michigan State Spartans on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Fans can purchase tickets online at Huskers.com or by calling the Nebraska Ticket Office at 1-80-8BIGRED.
Name Vault Bars Beam Floor All-Around
Jordyn Beck --- --- --- --- ---
Hollie Blanske --- 9.70 9.525 --- ---
Jessie DeZiel 9.775 9.875 9.85 9.875 39.375
Janelle Giblin 9.775 9.475 9.825 9.725 38.800
Kailyn Hawkins --- --- --- --- ---
Amanda Lauer --- --- --- --- ---
Jennifer Lauer 9.675 9.825 9.95 9.75 39.200
Ariel Martin --- --- --- --- ---
Madison McConkey --- --- --- --- ---
Kassandra Nathe --- 9.75 9.80 --- ---
Jamie Schleppenbach 9.875 --- --- 9.75 ---
Brittany Skinner --- --- --- --- ---
Desire' Stephens 9.775 --- --- 9.775 ---
Emily Wong 9.75 9.80 9.90 9.925 39.375
Team Score Vault Bars Beam Floor Total
Nebraska 48.950 48.950 49.325 49.075 196.300
Michigan 49.000 49.350 49.175 49.375 196.900