WVU Upsets No. 19 UNC

Junior Erica Watson totaled a career-high 39.325 points in all-around as the West Virginia University gymnastics team topped No. 19 North Carolina, 195.275-195.075, Friday night at the WVU Coliseum.

WVU's (6-7, 3-0 EAGL) team score of 195.275 was its season-high and the win over UNC gave the Tar Heels their first loss of the season (9-1, 5-1 EAGL).

Watson's all-around score took first place, while teammate Mehgan Morris also turned in an outstanding evening, totaling a career-high 39.200 points to take second place. West Virginia trailed heading into the final event, 146.500-146.150. The Mountaineers mounted a comeback though, with a strong performance on floor. In fact, the 49.125 points was the most on that event all year. WVU picked up three 9.825s from Watson, Morris and lineup anchor Shelly Purkat. Freshman Amy Bieski also posted a meet-high 9.875 to take first place.

While WVU was on floor, North Carolina headed over to the balance beam with a .450 lead, but couldn't manage to keep it. The Tar Heels totaled 48.575 points behind Christine Nguyen's 9.925, but it wasn't enough as WVU overcame the deficit for the upset win. Watson and Kiersten Spoerke notched a 9.8 and 9.825, respectively, to highlight the Mountaineers' 48.200 points on the balance beam in rotation three. But UNC hit for 48.825 points on floor, including 9.825s from Kara Wright and Sarrie Rubin, to jump ahead of the Mountaineers.

Morris and Watson performed their best on the uneven bars in rotation two. After freshman Naja Johnson hit for an impressive 9.75, Watson followed in the fifth spot to post a career-high 9.9. Morris then followed Watson with another 9.9 to give West Virginia 48.825 points on that event. The 9.9s by the pair tied for first place.

The Mountaineers got the dual meet off to a great start with a season-high 49.125 points on vault to lead UNC, 49.125-49.000. Watson stuck her routine for a season-best 9.8 Chelsi Tabor capped off the scorecard with a career-high 9.925 vault. Tabor was the event champion.

WVU returns to action in a five-team meet at Rutgers on Feb. 23, in Piscataway, N.J. The other opponents for that meet are Bridgeport, Rhode Island and Ursinus.

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