A home meet was all it took to give the Elis a much-needed confidence boost after a sluggish performance at Rutgers last weekend.

The Bulldogs triumphed against Southern Connecticut State University in their first home meet of the season, 189.775 to 180.7. In a sport where every thousandth of a point makes a big difference, the nine-point margin shows the significant progress that the team has made since its disappointing third place finish in the quad meet at Rutgers.

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For the Bulldogs, this meet was more about focusing on their own performances and improving their team score than an all-out competition with the other team, Jessica Blick ’07 said. Their goal for the meet was to reach 190 points, and the Elis came extremely close. In addition to achieving a season-high team score, Yale showed a huge improvement from its disappointing 183.425 finish last weekend.

Team members attributed their progress to competing at home in front of their friends and family.

“There’s always a little added excitement when you’re at home, and you have a lot of fun with it,” captain Sarah Peterson ’07 said. “With the energy and excitement, you perform a little better with extra support.”

Though Peterson was absent due to an elbow injury, the rest of team was healthy and able to completely fill its lineup for the first time this season.

The floor event was one of the highlights of the meet, with all five of the counted scores above 9.5. Miki Seltzer ’07 won the event with her meet-high score of 9.8. The Elis have struggled on the bars all season, but Saturday’s meet saw progress, with a three-point overall improvement from that event alone. Alina Liao ’09 won the event with a 9.575 and Brigitte Kivisto ’10 placed second.

The team’s marked improvement from previous weeks was a result of minimal falls. Throughout the meet, only one fall was counted, whereas last weekend there were five falls on the bars alone. The gymnasts also added to the difficulty of their routines, increasing start values to 10.0, which no doubt played a big role in boosting the overall team score.

After the disappointing meet last weekend in New Jersey, the Elis said they learned from their mistakes and set their sights on bouncing back from the third-place finish.

“Last week really motivated us to step it up,” Seltzer said. “We did a lot of routines and really worked on consistency during practice, and that really showed in our performance this week.”

The team’s improvement comes at an important time in its season, with the Ivy League championships only two weeks away. Team members said that the peak of their season came too early last year, but with better timing this year, they are hopeful that their top performances will come at the most opportune time in 2007.

“Everyone was very pleased and excited, and we’re definitely showing ready improvement,” Peterson said. “We’ve made a lot of progress and we’re ready to peak in time for Ivies.”

The home meet this weekend against Rhode Island will be a close and exciting match because both squads are on a comparable level, team members said.

“Having another home meet will be nice, and hopefully the momentum will keep going until Ivies,” Jessica Tai ’07 said. “It’s a good setup for us in terms of being a week before Ivies — it should give us more confidence going into the competition.”

The Ivy League Championship meet will be held the following week in Philadelphia.