Jan. 19, 2004
Athens, Ga. - UCLA won its first meet of the season in a big way, defeating Georgia on its own home court, 197.85-197.475, in front of 9,147 fans Monday afternoon. The two teams recorded the two highest scores in the nation this season.
UCLA led from the very beginning after scoring a national-best 49.5 on the uneven bars. Kristen Maloney and Kate Richardson each tied their career-highs with scores of 9.9 and 9.925, respectively, and Jeanette Antolin anchored the set with a career-best 9.975. Georgia, meanwhile, totaled a 49.4 on vault, led by Chelsa Byrd's 9.95.
The Bruins, who had stuggled on vault in their previous two meets, were more than solid this time around, scoring a 49.425, the eighth-best score in school history. Maloney hit a career-high 9.9 and Richardson and Antolin each scored 9.95 to pace UCLA, which increased its lead to .25, 98.925-98.675.
In rotation three, Georgia produced a stellar beam set with a 49.425, thanks in large part to Cory Fritzinger's 9.975. But the Gym Dogs could only trim the lead by .025, as the Bruins scored a 49.4 on floor. Jamie Williams led off with a 9.75, followed by a 9.825 from Lori Winn and a collegiate-best 9.85 from Ashley Peckett. UCLA's final three reeled of 9.9+ scores, with Yvonne Tousek earning a 9.9, Antolin a 9.925 and Richardson a 9.9.
Up by just .2 going into beam in the final rotation, the Bruins needed a strong beam set to maintain the lead as Georgia finished on floor. UCLA received four scores of 9.925 or higher, as Maloney and Richardson scored 9.925s and Antolin and Tousek scored 9.95s. Williams' 9.775 accounted for the fifth score as the Bruins matched their season-best with a 49.525. Georgia scored a 49.375 on floor, but it was not enough to catch UCLA.
Antolin won the all-around with a 39.8, her second 39.8+ score in as many meets. She also placed first on vault, bars and floor. Richardson was second in the all-around with a 39.7.
The win was UCLA's first regular season victory in Athens since a 189.55-189.15 victory on March 12, 1988.
The Bruins had entered the meet with an 0-2 record after dropping dual meets to Utah last week and Arizona Friday.
"Going into the season, we had a plan leading into today's meet, which was to get everyone in to compete early on, to mix up the lineup and find out who our top competitors were going to be coming into Georgia," said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. "Today, we put Jamie Williams in on beam and floor, and that would not have happened had we not competed her in Arizona. And Jamie proved she could do it the best she could today."
"I'm thrilled that the plan paid off," Kondos Field continued. "Every year our goal is to achieve calm confidence going into each competition, and we finally feel it now."