Gymnastics • No. 2-ranked Bruins presented huge challenge.
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Los Angeles • Utah's season of unknowns started with a bunch of "uh-ohs" here Saturday as the fifth-ranked Utah gymnastics team fell to No. 2 UCLA 197.425-195.3 in front of 5,580 at Pauley Pavilion.
With no seniors and a roster filled with gymnasts adjusting to new roles, the Utes went into Saturday's opener unsure of how the youngsters would respond to the pressure of competing against one of the NCAA favorites.
The answer came early as Utah suffered three falls on the uneven bars. The Utes knew they needed to have a great meet to have any shot at upending the Bruins.
Instead of battling for an upset, the Utes spent the rest of the night just trying to make their score respectable.
Utah's poor start was set off by Mary Beth Lofgren, who fell in the leadoff spot. Freshman Breanna Hughes followed with a 9.85, but Nansy Damianova (9.225) and Hailee Hansen (9.275) also had falls.
Lofgren was competing in place of sophomore Kassandra Lopez, who sat out the meet with a strained leg muscle. But how much her absence hurt is debatable because the distance between the teams in talent was so definitive from the top to the bottom of the lineup.
Utah's opening was reminiscent of their 2010 opener here in which the Utes lost 196.6-195.125.