GYMNASTICS: Ball State looks for rebound at Maryland

Cards head to Maryland looking for first win

As in life, as in gymnastics, once you fall, there's nothing to do but get back up, brush yourself off and try again.

Ball State will look to rebound from a pair of losses to start the season and pick up its first win against Maryland and Towson State in College Park, Md., on Friday night.

"I know for a fact that we are going to beat Towson," sophomore Tiffany Brodbeck said. "It's going to be difficult to beat Maryland, but I'm excited. I think we can really do it. I have confidence in us 100 percent."

The Cardinals (0-2) stumbled on the uneven bars and the floor exercise, being forced to count a fall in both events. If Ball State is going to pick up a digit in the win column, it will need at least five clean routines in all four events.

Coach Nadalie Walsh said she didn't want to overreact to the mistakes made last week, but the team added extra repetitions on the bars in practice.

"They had tougher bar assignments," Walsh said. "If they didn't the bar assignment done, they had to do it the next day."

Junior Brittney Emmons, who stumbled on the bars in an "uncharacteristic" mistake, said it was important not to dwell or put excessive focus on one event over another.

"When you start focusing on one thing more than others, then your mind starts becoming jumbled up, then you can't focus on anything else," she said.

Maryland (2-1) picked up a pair of wins against Air Force and New Hampshire on Saturday. The Terrapins average score this season is 193.825, more than three points higher than the Cardinals.

"For us to have such a good showing on Saturday last week with some really good teams gives us a lot of confidence going into this next one," Maryland coach Brett Nelligan said.

Towson State (3-0) represents the best chance for Ball State to pick up a victory. The Tigers and the Cardinals are listed 47th and 48th in the country, respectively.

"We're looking to do a little better job of hitting our routines versus just making it," said first-year Towson State coach Vicki Chliszczyk, who was an assistant coach at Maryland the past five seasons.

Ball State has showed it has the right pieces in its first two meets, Walsh said, but she wants the team to put the puzzle together for a well-rounded performance Friday.

The Tigers and the Cardinals both counted falls in their respective meets last week. The team that avoids mistakes will likely come out with the head-to-head win.

In building the lineup for this meet, she said she's going to choose gymnasts who have shown consistency in practice.

Walsh said she enjoys competing in meets with more than two teams. Although there is more going on, she said the team is able to concentrate better in that situation.

"There's more going on in the gym, so you can actually be more focused on your team," Walsh said. "It's not just and another team. It's you and two other teams, and you don't have time to notice what they're doing because there's too many of them."

With the season in full swing, Emmons said she thinks the Cardinals are on the threshold of raising their scores.

"We are that good team that can get that big score. Just everyone's got to be clean and hitting their stuff for the day," she said.