Feb. 28, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Led by MSU's highest score this season, the Spartans celebrated Senior Night on Friday at Jenison Field House. Michigan State held a lead over No. 21 Denver through two events, but the Spartans lost a hard-fought battle to the Pioneers by a score of 195.550-195.675.
"I'm really proud of this team," said head coach Kathie Klages. "Tonight, they were ready for the competition. We're really excited about how it turned out. This is what we've been seeing in the gym on a regular basis, so for us to see it come out on the competition floor finally, we are so proud as a coaching staff and hopefully this will give them the confidence to move forward and do well. They proved that they are the team we've been telling them they are. It was so exciting to be ahead of Denver at some points in time and so close to beating a top-20 ranked team. That would've been so exciting for our program, but we'll take the score and run."
The Spartans posted their highest score of the season on the vault, tallying a 48.900 to tie Denver on the event. For the third-straight meet, junior Alina Cartwright scored a 9.900 to take first-place honors on the event. Senior Dani Levy posted a season-high score of 9.800 to place third overall, while fellow senior Gillian Carr led off the Spartans on the vault by scoring a season-high 9.725.
On the bars, Levy paced MSU by tying her career-best score of 9.875 to take home first-place honors. Continuing to improve as the season moves on, freshman Mackenzie Smith again improve to post a personal-best score of 9.775 to tie for forth in the event. Cartwright recorded a score of 9.750 to help give the Spartans a team score of 48.775, while Denver won the event with a score of 48.950.
Tying for the 15th-best balance beam score in the MSU record books, the Spartans tallied a season-high 49.075. It marked their highest score since 2012. Cartwright met her career-high on the event, recording a 9.850 to tie sophomore Lisa Burt on the event for third place overall. Also tying on the event with a 9.800 was junior Ashley Noll and senior Alex Pace as Pace tied her season-high score. Though it was a season-high team average for MSU, the Spartans were outscored by Denver on the event as the Pioneers totaled a 49.125.
MSU concluded the meet on the floor exercise, taking a win in the event with a score of 48.800 to Denver's 48.675. The Spartans led by three scores of 9.800 from Burt, Cartwright and freshman Elena Lagoski, as all three gymnasts took second place on the event. Pace and freshman Kira Frederick also tied on the event, both earning scores of 9.700, a personal-best for Frederick.
In the all around competition, Denver's Nina McGee took first-place honors with a score of 39.375. Cartwright turned in a runner-up finish as she tallied a score of 39.300, while Lisa Burt finished fourth with a total score of 39.050.
The Spartans recognized the five members of the team participating in the last home dual-meet of the season. The seniors included gymnasts Gillian Carr, Dani Levy, Alex Pace as well as student coaches Serena Bumbarger and Kelsey Mazur.
"I think it's so important to send off the seniors with a good competition and I'm really proud of what they've done with this team," said Klages. "I just think that was part of why we were able to dig so deep and get it done tonight, because the team wanted to do it for the seniors."
MSU will be back on the road next weekend as the team travels to Cape Girardeau, Mo., to take on Southeast Missouri State on Friday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET.