March 2, 2012
Third-ranked UCLA earned its highest road score of the season, but it wasn't enough to defeat fourth-ranked Georgia, who won the dual meet at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga. on Friday evening, 197.700-196.975.
The Bruins were less than a tenth of a point out of first at the halfway mark, but a season-high 49.475 beam set by Georgia in the third rotation shifted the momentum the host team's way, and the Bruins couldn't match it in the fourth rotation, scoring just 49.025 on beam.
UCLA began the meet with a 49.3 on uneven bars. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs started the rotation with a 9.75 after taking a few steps on her dismount. Olivia Courtney followed with a 9.85, and Mattie Larson scored 9.825. Samantha Peszek returned to the bars lineup after sitting out the event the last two meets and contributed a season-high and team-best 9.9. Vanessa Zamarripa and Aisha Gerber closed the set with scores of 9.85 and 9.875, respectively. Georgia, meanwhile, took the lead with a season-best 49.45 after sticking three vaults, including the last one by Kat Ding, who scored 9.95.
The Bruins moved to vault for the second rotation and blasted a 49.45 to match the Gym Dogs' vault total. After a 9.8 from Kaelie Baer and 9.775 from Hopfner-Hibbs, the Bruins recorded four straight 9.9+ vaults. Larson stuck her Yurchenko layout full vault with good distance and earned a career-high 9.9. Tauny Frattone nailed her Yurchenko half-on, front pike off to score a career-high-tying and meet-high-tying 9.95, and Courtney and Zamarripa finished with identical scores of 9.9. Georgia held the lead, 98.825-98.750, after totaling 49.375 on bars.
Georgia got off to a hot start on beam in the third rotation, with its first three gymnasts scoring 9.9, 9.875 and 9.925 en route to a season-high 49.475. The Bruins' first three on floor, by contrast, went 9.725, 9.8 and 9.475. Courtney put the Bruins back on track with a 9.9, and Alyssa Pritchett followed with a 9.85. Hopfner-Hibbs's first-place mark of 9.925 gave the Bruins a score of 49.2 on floor and a three-event total of 147.95, 0.35 behind Georgia's 148.3.
Closing on balance beam, the Bruins were unable to post big enough scores to catch up to Georgia. Gerber led off with a 9.85, and Larson followed with a 9.825, but the Bruins were forced to count a 9.675 from Courtney, who was competing on beam for the first time since the season opener, after Zamarripa suffered her first fall of the season. Zamarripa's fall broke her streak of 68 consecutive hit routines. Hopfner-Hibbs and Peszek closed with 9.825 routines to help the Bruins get over the 49 mark with a 49.025. Georgia's 49.4 on floor pushed the team to a season-high team total of 197.7.
UCLA wraps up the regular season on Sunday, Mar. 11 with a home dual meet against No. 2 Oklahoma. The meet will take place at the John Wooden Center at 2pm.