Missouri gymnastics loss to Nebraska a positive turning point

Friday, February 4, 2011 | 11:02 p.m. CST; updated 11:12 p.m. CST, Friday, February 4, 2011
MU junior Allie Heizelman spins through the air during a floor exercise against Nebraska on Friday.

  Columbia - MU gymnastics showed the first feeling for the "killer instinct" on Friday night, head coach Rob Drass said. 

"We became a solid team tonight," he said. 


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In its first dual meet of the season, the team fell just .675 points short the No. 10 Nebraska Cornhuskers, who lead the Big 12 Conference. 

With a final score of 195.400, MU topped a team score of 195 for the first time this season.

"We pulled together and we believed in ourselves more," senior Alex Gold said.

Gold and Taylor Medrea both fell on the uneven bars, but the team recovered to win the final two rotations on beam and floor. 

"We all stepped up to the plate tonight. It was a huge step for our team," Gold said. "Before, if someone fell we'd lose energy, but tonight we let it go and moved on."

The Tigers and Cornhuskers met up last week in Dallas at the Metroplex Challenge, where Missouri finished No. 4 and Nebraska No. 2 out of four teams.  

"After Metroplex we felt we'd defeated ourselves," Drass said. "We didn't feel that tonight. We were proud of our efforts."

Freshman Alex Skinner and sophomore Lauren Swankoski both had career highs on the vault: Skinner scored a 9.7 and Swankoski a 9.875.

"We wanted to prove that we weren't the team we were in Dallas and that we are the team we are in practice," Swankoski said. "We're ready to fight and tonight we proved that."

The team is now more confident about its postseason chances. 

"We came out here wanting a turning point in the season, and that's what we got," junior Mary Burke said. 

"Our team scores are rising. We're a building team and we're heading in the right direction," Drass said.

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