AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pazific held on down the wire to snap Oregon's unbeaten streak, edging the Ducks by less than a point Monday at the Felix Event Center. Attempting to finish the regular season undefeated for a third consecutive season, UO fell short by a 283.400-282.480 margin and will enter the postseason with a 9-1 record.
Avenging an earlier loss to Oregon on March 10, the Cougars (4-2) tallied their best total score of the season and won three events and tied UO in another. Oregon trailed just over a tenth of a point entering the team routine - an event they were unbeaten in prior to tonight. APU narrowly bested Oregon, 98.950-98.150, to clinch a thrilling win in one of the closest meets UO head coach Felicia Mulkey's squad has ever been in.
Oregon's impressive win streak, which spanned four seasons, comes to an end at 31 - a span of 25 meets. UO's last loss came to Maryland on March 24, 2011.
"We made some mistakes early on to open the door, and Azusa Pacific capitalized," said Mulkey. "Our girls didn't have their best meet tonight, and truthfully, they don't want to win when they're not at their best. Give credit to Azusa Pacific - they're a good team and they capitalized on our mistakes."
The Ducks will now set their sights on the NCATA National Championships, from April 23-25, where UO will gun for a fourth straight national title. The championships will be hosted by APU this season in Azusa, Calif.
"Sometimes you have to lose to get better, and this loss will make the girls very hungry for the postseason - I can already tell that," said Mulkey. "I won't be the one pushing them the hardest next practice. I think they'll be doing that on their own."
Oregon opened the meet with a 38.900 through the compulsory rounds, while APU scored a 38.950. The Ducks scored a perfect 10 in the pyramid heat.
Both teams tied through three acro heats with a 28.750. The Ducks earned scores of 9.65, 9.75 and 9.35 on the event.
Azusa Pacific used a near-perfect pyramid event to enter halftime with a .600 lead on Oregon. APU won pyramid, 29.650-291.100, despite an impressive 9.95 from the Ducks in the third heat.
The Ducks tallied scores of 9.70, 9.65 and 9.75 to defeat the Cougars in the toss event and trim their lead to just a quarter of a point.
With a perfect 10.0 in the six-element pass, Oregon defeated Azusa Pacific in the tumbling event and trailed by just over a tenth of a point entering the final event. UO scored a 58.475 in tumbling with scores of 9.65 on duo pass, 9.50 on triple pass, 9.55 on quad pass, 9.9 on aerial pass, 10.0 on six-element pass and 9.875 on the open pass.
In a nerve-wracking finish, Oregon went first with its team routine and scored a 98.150. Azusa Pacific come through clutch with a 98.950, clinching the victory in dramatic fashion.