One team has been waiting years to change the narrative. The other wanted to even the score after a heartbreaking loss two years ago.
In the biggest meet of the season, both the Oregon and Baylor acrobatics & tumbling teams fought neck-and-neck until a collapse in the final event secured one the victory.
The No. 2 Oregon Ducks (3-1) fell to their longtime rival, the No. 1 Baylor Bears (4-0), Sunday evening at Matthew Knight Arena, 285.150 to 267.905.
“This rivalry is just always going to be what it is,” Oregon head coach Keenyn Won said. “I love when we have teams that can go head-to-head like this. I think it just continues to propel our sport the way we want it to.”
Baylor’s win extended its program streak to 23 consecutive meets and tied the team's series overall record at 12-12. The Bears’ win marked Oregon’s first loss of the season.
“Of course, I’d like to be ahead all the time — everyone would. But it’s so much fun when you’re neck-and-neck,” Baylor head coach Felecia Mulkey said. “You love that. It’s so much fun to compete against Oregon because they’re good, and it raises everyone’s standard and raises the bar.”
In the compulsory event, Oregon outscored the Bears in the pyramid heat with a score of 9.80. Baylor won the other three heats of the event, highlighted by a 9.95 in the toss heat. The Bears finished the event with 38.75 meet score, as Oregon followed closely behind with 38.05.
The Ducks dominated in the acro event, sweeping the Bears in every heat. The closest Baylor got was in heat one, falling just 0.05 of a point short of Oregon’s winning score of 9.85. With victories in each of the three heats, Oregon earned a 29.25 in the event and took the lead in the meet score with a 67.65 compared to Baylor’s 67.30.
“Winning acro event, I think that was a really big high for us because we have been working so hard to improve that event as a whole,” Oregon senior Casi Jackson said. “I think we really just went out there and did what we knew how to do, and that was our biggest high of the day.”
Both teams scored 9.90 in the opening heat of the pyramid event — a season-high mark in the heat for the Ducks. But thanks to winning the following two heats, Baylor used a 27.70 event score to move back on top of the Ducks, 97.35-96.60, at the meet's intermission.
The Bears then took the victory in toss event. Despite the teams tying once again in the opening heat, each scoring 9.65 in the 450 Salto heat, the Bears dominated the last two heats and won the event 29.35-19.45.
Baylor swept the tumbling event and separated itself in the meet score with its largest lead of 184.80 to Oregon’s 181.925. Oregon did earn a season-high of 8.70 in the third heat by purposefully starting with its lowest starting-score, 9.10.
Despite a season-high score of 95.43 in the team event, one of Oregon’s pyramids collapsed during the final event of the meet. This took away any chance Oregon had at a comeback as the Bears secured the victory with an event score of 100.35. Baylor then won the meet with a final score of 285.15 to Oregon’s final meet score of 277.355.
“[The] team event was not what we expected,” Won said. “We have been doing really well at practice at that, so it’s defiantly something we have to go to the drawing board and just get more confident in the execution in that piece.”
The Ducks will travel down to Azusa, California, to face off in its second away meet of the season. Oregon will compete against Azusa Pacific University on Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Follow Maggie Vanoni: @maggie_vanoni