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UCLA Athletics
Hallie Mossett (photo by Christy Linder)
No. 8 UCLA Falls to No. 4 Utah, 197.125-195.875
By: UCLA Athletics
Salt Lake City, Utah - Eighth-ranked UCLA got off to a rough start on uneven bars in the first rotation and could not catch up to fourth-ranked Utah, which won the dual meet in Salt Lake City, 197.125-195.875, breaking UCLA's eight-meet winning streak in the series. The Bruins had to deal with several lineup changes throughout the meet due to illnesses and injury but received a big boost from freshman Hallie Mossett, who won the all-around in the first all-around attempt of her collegiate career, scoring 39.075.

UCLA's lineup shuffling came immediately at the start of the competition. With Danusia Francis slowed by a stomach flu, Bruin head coach Valorie Kondos Field pulled her from the leadoff routine on uneven bars and moved Olivia Courtney from fifth to first in the lineup. After Courtney started with a 9.775, Ellette Craddock had two falls, putting Mossett in a must-hit position. She hit a clutch routine, scoring 9.75. Sophina DeJesus was dinged hard for catching her Geinger too close, recording 9.475. Sydney Sawa scored 9.75, and Samantha Peszek returned to action to score a team-high 9.875. The Bruins' team score of 48.625 was nearly a point behind Utah, however, which scored 49.6 on vault.

The Bruins put the first rotation behind them and scored 49.1 on vault. Angi Cipra and Sadiqua Bynum led off with a pair of 9.85s. Sawa and Courtney scored 9.8, as did Jennifer Pinches in just her second vault of the season. Mossett stepped in to compete on vault for the first time in her collegiate career and hit a big Yurchenko layout full that got a 9.85 from one judge and a final score of 9.75. Utah increased its lead by scoring 49.525 on bars and went into the halfway point leading 99.125-97.725.

UCLA lit it up in rotation three, scoring 49.325 on floor exercise. Mossett led off with a 9.8, followed by a 9.825 from late sub DeJesus that earned a 9.9 from one judge. Cipra also earned a 9.9 from one judge and a final score of 9.875. Bynum went 9.675 after going out of bounds on her double layout, but big scores from Courtney, who has been battling a cold yet still scored 9.9, and Sawa, who led the team with a 9.925, brought UCLA closer after the Utes had to count a fall on beam.

Down by 0.65, the Bruins went to beam with a new lineup aimed at finding stability in the lineup. Craddock took her turn at the leadoff position and performed beautifully, scoring a season-high 9.775. Mossett followed with a strong routine of her own that matched Craddock's score. DeJesus made a big save, preventing a fall on a front flip and scoring 9.725. Francis shook off her illness and earned a career-high-tying and meet-winning 9.95, sticking her sideways side aerial into a full-twisting dismount to huge cheers from the Utah crowd. Cipra fought through some wobbles and scored 9.6 to help the Bruins record a season-high team total on beam of 48.825. It was not nearly enough to catch Utah, however, which scored 49.425 on floor.

Despite the loss, Kondos Field found positives in the team's performance, particularly in the way they handled the adversity and poor start.

"This is the time that your team gets stronger, and this is the time that you see what they're made of," she said. "We started off poorly on bars, and we just kept getting stronger and stronger. We had some girls competing who haven't competed events yet. We keep telling them we need to get better for March and April. While it's upsetting to come out of here without a good score, first of all, and also with a loss, it was exciting to see because I do feel we got better tonight as a team."

UCLA (1-2) will hit the road again next week, traveling to California for a Friday, Jan. 31 meet.

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Saturday, Apr 02
vs. NCAA Regionals
Salt Lake City, UT
2nd, 196,375
Friday, Apr 15
vs. NCAA Team Semifinals
Fort Worth, TX
3rd, 196.700
Saturday, Apr 16
vs. NCAA Super Six
Fort Worth, TX
5th, 196.825