The Cougars fall to the visiting Ducks in front of a packed crowd.
The Azusa Pacific acrobatics & tumbling team’s undefeated season came to an end after a loss to the University of Oregon, 280.900-279.875, in a meet that came down to the final heat.
Heading into the team event, the Cougars trialed the Ducks 182.500-181.775.
“I knew it was going to be close,” said junior base Carolina Phillips. “We can’t complain because we did our best, and we made our highest score of the season.”
The Ducks outscored the Cougars in the team event 98.400-98.100 to seal the victory.
The Cougars entered the match undefeated with a 3-0 record after a convincing road victory over King University (Tenn.), by a score of 278.265-263.515. APU continued this momentum by scoring a season-high in points; the Ducks also had a season high.
In fact, both teams had some of the top scores of the season across the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA). The Duck’s score was the third best in the NCATA this year while the Cougars was the fifth best.
“I feel like [Oregon is] beatable … I truly believe we’ll beat them,” said head coach Colleen Kausrud.
Several Cougars had strong performances on the night, including senior Jessica Gill, who earned the top score for the Cougars in the six element pass with 9.825.
“She was our top scorer this week,” said Kausrud. “I’m excited for her to do more.”
The stands in Felix Event Center were filled with what appeared to be a 50/50 crowd between Oregon and APU. This comes at no surprise, considering the Ducks have eight players from Southern California and a total of 12 from the whole state.
A slow start hurt the Cougars early on. In the compulsory event, Oregon bested the Cougars in every category, making the score 38.60-38.05. However, APU followed up with back-to-back wins in Acro and Pyramid to close the margin of score 96.550-96.250 in favor of Oregon at half time.
“I think nerves got to us in the beginning,” Phillips said. “In the Compulsory our timing was off. If we would have been on that would have helped.”
At the start of the second half, the Ducks came out motivated by chants from their fan base and took control of the meet. They won the Toss and Tumbling portion of the match to further extend their lead and break away from the Cougars.
With the loss, the Cougars fall to 3-1 and the Ducks improve to 4-1. The two teams will face each other again in Eugene on March 30. Before that, the Cougars have one final home match against Hawai’i Pacific University on March 26 at 7:00 p.m.