Senior Marijka Botterman won the vault and bars titles in the Illini's meet against the Hawkeyes.
Jan. 24, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior Marijka Botterman won the vault and uneven bars and freshman Kelsey Joannides took home the balance beam crown, but it wasn't enough to overcome early falls in a 194.950-194.400 upset loss to Iowa Saturday night at Huff Hall.
"After a slow start, I'm very pleased with the way the girls bounced back," head coach Bob Starkell said. "We responded with a solid bars rotation, were strong once again on beam and suffered no major breaks on floor."
Botterman tied her career-high and equaled the third best score in school history with a 9.900 to win the vault title. Joannides tied for second on the event with a 9.800 and junior Nicole Cowart scored an impressive 9.775 for fourth place, but the other three Illini suffered major errors to put Illinois in an early hole in the team race after one rotation as Iowa led 48.650-47.925.
The Illini responded with a season-high score of 48.850 on bars, as Botterman once again led the way to take the event crown with a 9.825. Sophomore Melissa Fernandez, junior Sarah Schmidt, and freshman Kelsey Joannides each posted 9.775s to finish in a tie for third place. The Illini narrowed the gap separating them from the Hawkeyes, but still trailed 97.350-96.775 following rotation two.
The Illini once again had a solid showing on the balance beam in rotation three, scoring a 49.000. Joannides tallied her third consecutive 9.850 on the event to take the title, while senior Julie Crall scored a 9.825 on her signature event to tie for second with Iowa's Houry Gebeshian. Cowart, Fernandez, and sophomore Lashlee Morris each scored a 9.775 to complete the Illini's team total. The Hawkeyes scored a 39.200 on floor to increase their lead to 146.950-145.775 following the third rotation.
Illinois finished the competition on floor, where they posted a 48.625. Sophomore Allison Buckley scored a 9.775 to lead the Orange and Blue and Morris, a last-minute fill-in for Schmidt in the line-up, was right behind with a 9.750.
Joannides took second in the all-around competition (39.050), a tenth of a point behind Iowa's Houry Gebeshian.
"Kelsey and Marijka both looked great tonight," Starkell said. "Marijka has been limited in practice and really came back strong tonight."
Illinois returns to action next week with a quad meet at Ohio State on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. ET/6 CT. Joining the Illini and Buckeyes will be the Missouri Tigers and Michigan State Spartans.