No. 16 gymnastics suffered its first loss by a Mid-American Conference opponent in almost three years Friday when it traveled to Ball State and fell 194.500 to 194.175.
CMU lost the meet by only 0.325, but a couple key faults allowed the Cardinals to snatch the victory from the 16th-ranked Chippewas.
“I don’t like losing, period,” head coach Jerry Reighard said. “It’s a hard pill to swallow and to lose to a MAC team is unacceptable.”
Reighard hasn’t felt defeat to a fellow Mid-American Conference opponent since Feb. 13, 2010, when they lost to rival Kent State 194.250 to 193.925 and in that span his team has won three-straight MAC championships.
Although CMU suffered its first lost of the season, it had a stellar performance on the beam. Sophomore Taylor Noonan set a MAC-high score of 9.925. Sophomore Kylie Fagan set a career-high on the bars as well.
A couple key factors did not aid the Chippewas in the loss including an ankle injury to Brittany Petzold, loud crowd chants and an alternating technique that forced the them to wait until the previous Cardinal was finished with their routine.
“It was one of the biggest Ball State crowds I have seen.” Reighard explaned. “I don’t think the crowd contributed to the falls though.”
Although CMU only lost by 0.325, it was the lowest score recorded this season, while Ball State recorded its season high.
“Being on the road had a bigger effect than I thought, it forces a different order that we weren’t used to,” Reighard said. “We didn’t have our normal 10-11 9.8’s, we fell short with only five this meet.”
Being on road is a tough excuse to accept for the Chippewas.
They haven’t lost to a MAC team on the road since Jan. 26, 2008, when they lost at Eastern Michigan 193.050 to 189.325.
CMU has to forget about the loss and prepare to see some of the toughest competition the nation has to offer next week.
The Chippewas, who have dropped to No. 20 in the nation, now set their sights on Minneapolis, Minn., for a meet against No. 12 University of Minnesota, No. 1 University of Michigan and Iowa State on Saturday.