The look on sophomore Sabriyya Rouse’s face said it all. After taking a fall on the beam, Rouse collected herself, finished her routine strong and walked toward her encouraging teammates. Yet, her frustration with the performance was clear.
That frustration peaked as the Maryland gymnastics team struggled to find its footing against No. 8 Michigan on Saturday.
Maryland posted its season-low team score, failing to break 194 for the first time since 2017, as the Terps suffered a heavy defeat to the Wolverines, 196.400-193.525.
After scoring a season-high 194.950 in a loss to Illinois on Jan. 19, the Terps hoped to break the vaunted 195 score this weekend. Against the Illini, Maryland appeared to have cut down on little mistakes that were present in its first quad meet against Cortland, Penn and West Chester on Jan. 13.
However, the team struggled throughout Saturday’s meet, particularly on the bars and floor, posting season-low point totals in both events.
On vault, the Terps put up a decent showing, scoring a 48.575. Sophomore Collea Burgess led the way for the Terps with a 9.775 score. While the team score was lower than their target score of 49, the team performed a number of ambitious new routines. Despite faltering on a few of the landings, coach Brett Nelligan was pleased with the effort.
“We had some great, big vaults,” Nelligan said. “The confidence on the landings will come.”
Maryland, ranked No. 14 in bars entering Saturday, appeared unusually shaky in the event. Despite scores of 9.825 and 9.8 from sophomores Emilie LeBlanc and Audrey Barber, respectively, the Terps struggled throughout their routines, posting a 48.700.
Junior Alecia Farina, who posted a 9.875 score on the bars in each of the first two meets, managed only a 9.700, while freshman Sanya Glauber, who impressed in her first two meets, posted her lowest score of the season.
The difficulties continued on beam, as Rouse took a fall during her routine. After posting their season-high in the event last weekend, the Terps failed to put up a 9.8, with Barber earning a team-high score of 9.775 in the event.
With Michigan leading big after the first three rotations, the Terps hoped to end the meet with a strong floor performance — but the falters and frustrations continued. Rouse and senior Megan McClelland fell, leading to a 48.100 score — more than a full point behind Michigan’s total.
While Maryland failed to meet its expectations, the Terps’ underclassmen continued to prove their mettle. Burgess, after spending much of last year injured, led the team in the vault and posted a season-high score on the floor.
“She’s going to be a huge scorer for us on floor,” Nelligan said. “She’s that anchor that we need to really drive the final score home.”
Meanwhile, Barber, who was named to the All-Big Ten First Team as a freshman a season ago, has hit her stride, scoring 9.8s in bars and floor for the second straight meet.
The Terps travel to face Rutgers on Feb. 2 and hope to build off those bright spots while minimizing the small errors that have cost them valuable points.
“We’re going to go back in the gym on Monday,” Barber said, “and work on all the little things we messed up on.”
While falling flat early in the year certainly isn’t ideal for the young squad, the season is still in its infancy, a fact not lost on Burgess.
“It’s our third meet,” Burgess said. “We have a whole season to really come out on top.”