After falling to top-ranked teams No. 20 Penn State and No. 22 West Virginia Jan. 31, the women’s gymnastics squad scored its first team win of the season Saturday, beating Constitutional State-rivals Southern Connecticut State University, 191.375-190.850.

Elis placed first in three of the four events, and swept the top five places in the floor exercise. Bulldogs captain Jamie Green ’04 and Kathryn Fong ’05 tied for first in both the balance beam and the bars; SCSU’s Kristan Silvestri also tied with the Yale duo. The Bulldogs are 1-7.

Yale’s Anne McPherson ’06 said the win was evidence of the team’s improvement.

“It felt really good that we finally pulled everything together,” McPherson said. “I felt like I pulled everything together and the team did. A key thing was that we didn’t count any falls on beam, which I think was crucial to win.”

Jessica Tai ’07 agreed and said the team was just recovering from a sluggish stretch early in the season.

“We just got a slow start at the beginning of the season,” Tai said. “We had a lot of injuries, but we got in the gym and worked hard and we improved.”

This weekend, the Elis have out-of-state rival Rutgers in their sights. The Scarlet Knights, who are 7-3, finished second, ahead of Yale and behind Towson Jan. 17 at Towson University. In that meeting, Rutgers beat Yale 192.500 to 186.525, a significant margin in gymnastics competition.

Tai said beating Rutgers would be a challenge for the Bulldogs.

“Rutgers is a really good team,” Tai said. “It’ll be a good meet, It’ll be fun, but it’ll be really tough.”

McPherson went so far as to say the Elis could beat Rutgers.

“It’s possible because we’re improving every week and we’re getting back a lot of people who were injured, but we’d have to deliver an even better performance than we did this weekend.”

But despite a losing record, the Bulldogs are coming off their first win and are out for revenge and improvement. Their scores have risen every meet. The Ivy League championships are Feb. 29, and the Yale gymnasts want to be ready.

McPherson is confident that the Elis can repeat as Ivy champions.

“We feel a lot more confident after winning,” McPherson said. “We looked so much better. We definitely could win Ivies and should win Ivies.”

Tai said she thought her team had a chance at another title.

“I feel like we can do it,” she said. “As a team we’re good enough. If we keep it all together I think we really have a good chance.”

[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”18275″ ]