There’s an old saying that goes, "All good things must come to an end." Such was the case for the Oregon acrobatics and tumbling team on Monday, as the Azusa Pacific Cougars became the first team in over three years to defeat the Ducks. The Cougars edged out Oregon 283.400-282.480 on Monday night in Azusa, spoiling Oregon’s chance at a third consecutive undefeated season.
Azusa Pacific became the first team to defeat Oregon since Maryland did so back on March 24, 2011 in College Park. Oregon’s incredible streak of 31 wins over the course of 25 meets lasted 1,111 days. For almost the entire roster, it was the first defeat in their collegiate career. Only a small handful, five to be exact, was on the team that lost to Maryland in 2011.
The competition began with the two teams almost neck and neck through the compulsory events. Despite a perfect 10.00 from Oregon in the pyramid heat, Azusa Pacific edged out the Ducks in the opening round 38.95-38.90.
The teams tied in the acro event with both sides scoring a 28.75 out of 30 for the round. The Cougars then wrapped up the first half with a 29.65-29.10 win in the pyramid round. Once again, Oregon had the high score of the round with a 9.95 in the final heat, but a 9.30 in the second heat allowed the Cougars to head into the half with a lead, marking the first time all season the Ducks trailed at halftime.
After being swept in the first half events, the Ducks got their first event win of the night in the toss event, using a pair of 9.95 heats to close the gap a little. Oregon then won the tumbling event, which included a perfect 10.00 in the 6 element pass.
Feeling the pressure, the Ducks needed a big score in the team routine as they trailed heading into the night’s final event. The Cougars wrapped up the win by edging out Oregon in the team routine 98.95-98.15, sending players and fans into a frenzy as the crowd stormed the mat to celebrate.
Oregon now has a little over three weeks to bounce back and prepare for the NCATA National Championship, which begins on April 24 and concludes April 27. The meet will be held at Azusa Pacific, as the site of the national championship rotates from school to school each season.
There are two ways one can look at this. On one hand, Azusa Pacific proved what many teams in the country thought seemed impossible, and that was that Oregon could indeed be beaten. Now, Azusa Pacific along with all the other teams in the nation will come into the national championships knowing the Ducks are returning to the site of their first loss in three years. On the other hand, Oregon still remains one of the most dominant teams in the nation despite the loss as they often blow out their opponents each meet, and there’s no doubt the team will come back with an even stronger desire to win. The only question remains, which Oregon team will we see at the national championships at the end of the month?
Below are some reactions on Twitter from both sides of the mat:
Needless to say, Azusa Pacific was pretty excited about the win
FIRST TIME IN NCATA HISTORY THE DUCKS LOST!!!! WE BEAT U OF O!!!! pic.twitter.com/WDBiqDoClM— Jamie Montgomery (@jamieflips) April 8, 2014
Azusa Pacific fans were so excited about the win, they actually stormed the mat.
Tonight, APU Acro handed U of O their first loss in four years so we stormed the mat. You know how we ZU! pic.twitter.com/8myOWrIjZa— Jon Root (@JonnyRoot_) April 8, 2014
However, despite the loss, the Ducks remained confident with their heads held high afterwards
A setback is nothing but a setup for a comeback. 👊💚 #lovemyteam— Nicole Seybold (@Nicoleseybold2) April 8, 2014
The students at Oregon weren't about to jump ship, either.
Our #WCW is @OregonAcroTumb. Despite dropping a meet for the first time in 1,111 days, we’re still so proud of the way they represent Oregon— Autzen Students (@AutzenStudents) April 9, 2014