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Tempe, Ariz. • Even the best teams can have bad days. At least in the case of Utah's top-ranked gymnastics team, bad days don't always translate into losses.
The Utes had their worst performance of the year Sunday, but still managed to beat No. 25 Arizona State 196.15-194.0.
The Utes (4-1) struggled on the uneven bars and had to count a fall on the floor as both freshman Georgia Dabritz and Stephanie McAllister fell, leaving the Utes with a season-low 48.55 on an event in which they ranked No. 1 in the country.
Sunday was the first time the Utes have had to count a fall this year, while McAllister's mishap was a rare occurrence for Utah's most consistent gymnast.
The mistake ended her streak of 18 hit routines this year. She and Dabritz were tied for third nationally, averaging 9.906 on the event.
Utah's score was its second-lowest of the season, with the 196.075-196.025 loss at UCLA marking the worst. The Utes felt better about that defeat to the Bruins than they did their win Sunday, although they preferred to think of the mistakes as nothing more than an anomaly.
"We know we have to do better on the road," senior Kyndal Robarts said. "We've got to do better, but at the same time you have to expect a down week once in a while. You can't have 14 'up' weeks in a row."
The Utes were coming off an emotional 197.15-196.95 win over Georgia and had earned marks of 197.0 or higher in their past three outings.
"It was back down to planet Earth," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "Floor was really the only event I felt badly about. We had little mistakes and deductions on other events and the judging was tight but consistent, but floor was the only perplexing event where we didn't seem ourselves."
The silver lining to the meet was the way the Utes performed on the balance beam after being put in a bind.
Leadoff gymnast Kassandra Lopez, who has been steady this year, fell and scored just 9.35.
The rest of the gymnasts in Utah's lineup knew they had to hit in order for the Utes to avoid counting another fall. But if the situation made the Utes feel any pressure, they didn't show it the balance beam ended up being Utah's best event, with a 49.3.
Corrie Lothrop, who won the all-around title with a 39.4, scored a 9.9 on the balance beam to lead the Utes' rotation. She also won the floor with a 9.9.
"We did a good job coming back on the balance beam," Lothrop said. "It's harder for us to compete away from home, but we know we have to do a better job."
Luckily for the Utes, Arizona State had its own struggles and couldn't upset the Utes despite the two teams being tied at 49.0 after the first rotation.
Arizona State (4-1) had to count falls on the balance beam and floor as it suffered its first loss of the year.
Rather than celebrate the win, the Utes left Tempe already thinking about next week's road meet at Michigan.
"We're not on our home floor at nationals, so we have to learn to compete better on the road," Marsden said. "It makes that meet at Michigan that much more important."
Utah 196.15, ASU 194.0
P In short • The Utes count a fall for the first time this season but still defeat the Sun Devils.
Key moment • Leadoff gymnast Kassandra Lopez falls off the balance beam, but the rest of the lineup has strong routines to deliver a 49.3.
Key stat • Stephanie McAllister's fall on floor ends her streak of 18 made routines in a row.
Vault • Georgia Dabritz (Utah) 9.9
Uneven bars • Stephanie McAllister (Utah) 9.875
Balance beam • Corrie Lothrop (Utah) 9.9
Floor • Corrie Lothrop (Utah) 9.9
All-around • Corrie Lothrop (Utah) 39.4