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UAA gymnasts stop rival Falcons

Led by a sparkling all-around performance from freshman M'rcy Matsunami, the UAA gymnastics team made history Friday night with a narrow victory over Seattle Pacific at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.

The Seawolves beat their Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rivals in a dual meet for the first time in 38 tries, winning by one-tenth of a point, 191.675-191.575. It was UAA's first win over Seattle Pacific since the formation of the program in 1985.

The Seawolves (2-2) shined in three of the four events, earning top-five all-time scores on vault (48.5 points), uneven parallel bars (48.475) and balance beam (48.35). Their strength in those events allowed them to withstand a less-than-stellar effort in floor exercise.

"I'm really pleased with their performance, doing well on those three events," UAA coach Paul Stoklos said in a release from the school. "We know our weakness is floor right now, and we will be really focused on improving that aspect of our performance."

Matsunami, a freshman from Omaha, Neb., won the all-around with 38.675 points, the 20th-best score in program history.

She started off by winning the vault with 9.85 points, the seventh-highest score in school history and Matsunami's third vault of 9.8 this season -- something only three other UAA gymnasts have accomplished. She placed third on bars and beam.

"M'rcy is obviously just scratching the surface of her ability as a true freshman," Stoklos said. "She is someone who our fans will really enjoy watching for the next four years. I'm also pleased with the way Emily Petersen is really coming into her own, both as a team leader and with her skill set."

Petersen, a junior from Indianapolis, nailed all three of her routines, including a career-high 9.825 for a win on bars. Her 9.8 on beam was just shy of a career-high and good for second place.

Also posting top-three finishes for the Seawolves were Morgan Cook (third in vault, third in balance beam) and Paige Pirie (second on bars).

Seattle Pacific (0-3) was led by Stephanie Wagner, who topped the balance beam and shared the floor exercise title with teammate Corrine Wise.

UAA and Seattle Pacific meet again Saturday at 7 p.m.

UAA 191.675, Seattle Pacific 191.575

Vault -- 1) M'rcy Matsunami, UAA, 9.850; 2) Corrine Wise, SPU, 9.775; 3) Morgan Cook, UAA, 9.7. Other UAA scores --5) tie, Sariaye Jensen and Marie-Sophie Boggasch, 9.675; 7) Emily Petersen 9.6; 9) Kayli Davies, UAA, 9.550.

Uneven parallel bars -- 1) Emily Petersen, UAA, 9.825; 2) Paige Pirie, UAA, 9.775; 3) M'rcy Matsunami, UAA, 9.750. Other UAA scores -- 7) Stefany Bryan 9.6; 9) Marie-Sophie Boggasch 9.525; 12) Simone Penker 9.025.

Balance beam -- 1) Stephanie Wagner, SPU, 9.825; 2) Emily Petersen, UAA, 9.800; 3) tie, Morgan Cook, UAA, and M'rcy Matsunami, UAA, 9.7. Other UAA scores -- 5) Simone Penker 9.625; 7) Nicole Wetzel 9.525; 10) Stefany Bryan 9.2.

Floor exercise -- 1) tie, Corrine Wise, SPU, and Stephanie Wagner, SPU, 9.775; 3) Kenley Memmel, SPU, 9.675. UAA scores -- 4) Stefany Bryan 9.525; 5) M'rcy Matsunami 9.375; 6) Morgan Cook 9.35; 7) Nicole Wetzel 9.3; 11) Sariaye Jensen 8.8; 12) Paige Pirie 8.75.

All-around -- 1) M'rcy Matsunami, UAA, 38.675; 2) Sydney Clark, SPU, 37.975; 3) Shannon Escarra, SPU, 36.550.