Jan. 31, 2010
DeKALB, Ill. - Junior Holly Reichard, the 2009 Mid-American Conference Gymnast of the Year, saw action in all four events for the first time in the 2010 season to lead the Northern Illinois Huskies to a 192.125-191.500 victory over MAC foe Ball State Sunday at the NIU Convocation Center.
The victory gave Northern Illinois a perfect 3-0 mark at home so far this year and improved the Huskies' season record to 3-1, 2-1 in the MAC. Ball State fell to 3-4, 0-2.
Reichard (Palatine, Ill./Fremd HS), who is returning from a foot injury that has seen her gradually return to the line-up in different events, scored a 39.000 in her first all-around outing as she saw action in all four events. That score ranks as the third best all-around total in the league this season and matches her 2009 average. She tied for first place on the uneven parallel bars with a career-high score of 9.825, won the balance beam with a season-high 9.825 and tied for second on floor exercise with a season-best 9.775.
"To walk out there and go 39.000 in her first time out [in the all-around] this year shows how important Holly is to our line-up in every event," said NIU Head Coach Mark Sontag. "She is the real deal. To see her out there gives our team a great lift."
The Huskies earned their top team score of the season with a 192.125 as they came from behind to defeat Ball State. Trailing by four-tenths of a point, 144.675-144.275, going into the fourth rotation, NIU outscored the Cardinals by more than a full point with a 47.850 on the floor exercise while Ball State could manage only a 46.825 on balance beam.
"I knew we had to really hit [going into floor]," Sontag said. "We had our work cut out for us because they're usually a pretty good beam team. We didn't hit floor as well as I would have liked, but it worked out. The number one thing we try to stress is that every single tenth counts. Even if you have a mistake early in the routine, stay with it, stay focused and get the job done."
Northern Illinois also earned its best team score on the uneven bars with a 48.650 behind Reichard and teammate Ashley Guerra (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg HS), who tied for first place honors on the event. Reichard was backed up strongly on beam by sophomore Tanya Rachan (Lowell, Ind./Hanover Central HS), who tallied a 9.725 to tie for second en route to the top all-around score of her career, a 38.275. She took second in the all-around and was fourth on bars with a season-high 9.725. Senior Natalie Blum (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township HS) scored a 9.775 to tie for second place on floor exercise and also took second on vault with a 9.700.
While the Huskies raised their team total for the fourth consecutive meet, Sontag said the Huskies are nowhere near finished improving.
"It's one of those things where we still haven't put together four events," he said. "It seems that we keep letting down in one event, but it's not the same event. So we're still trying to fight that, while also finding a consistently high-scoring line-up as we shuffle people in as they get healthy. I'm seeing a lot of good things all the way through, in every event, we are getting stronger. Our potential is still higher than our scores have been and that keeps us looking forward to the next week."
Next, Northern Illinois travels to Denton, Texas for a tri-meet versus Air Force and Texas Woman's University on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. in Kitty Magee Arena on the TWU campus.
-- NIU --
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