UCLA Gymnasts Suffer First Loss of Year at Oregon State
Feb. 16, 2013
Corvallis, Ore. - Fourth-ranked UCLA suffered its first loss of the season, falling to 13th-ranked Oregon State at Gill Coliseum, 196.725-196.075, to drop to 7-1 on the year.
Senior Lichelle Wong provided the biggest highlight for the Bruins, stepping in late to do the all-around and recording season-highs on all four events. The last time the Bruins competed in Corvallis a year ago, Wong tore her Achilles tendon and missed the rest of the season. This year, Wong triumphed, earning 9.825 on vault, a meet-high 9.9 on bars, 9.85 on beam and 9.725 on floor for an all-around total of 39.3, just shy of her career-best.
The Bruins had to make several lineup adjustments throughout the meet due to a few minor injuries. Already competing without Sophina DeJesus, who did not travel due to a concussion, the Bruins held out Olivia Courtney on two events due to an ankle injury, and Monique De La Torre was pulled off vault due to shoulder pain. Wong stepped in beautifully, first on vault with a season-high 9.825 on just her second vault of the season, and then with a 9.725 on her season debut on floor. Dana McDonald also stepped up in a big way, competing for just the second time on beam and scoring a career-high 9.8.
UCLA and Oregon State traded one-tenth leads in the first two rotations, with the Bruins leading after one, 49.2-49.1. Wong and Vanessa Zamarripa had meet-high-tying 9.9s to lead the Bruins on uneven bars. The Beavers claimed the lead by one-tenth after rotation two, scoring 49.225 on bars to UCLA's 49.025 on vault. Zamarripa's 9.9 led the way for the Bruins and earned the senior her fourth-straight victory on vault.
The Beavers pulled ahead by 0.55 in the third rotation with a 49.175 on beam. UCLA scored a season-low 48.725 on floor, with just two scores going 9.8 - Alyssa Pritchett's 9.85 and Zamarripa's 9.875.
UCLA finished strong on beam in the final rotation but was unable to catch up to Oregon State, which scored 49.225 on floor. Kaelie Baer led off with a 9.775, and Wong, Zamarripa and Danusia Francis each produced scores of 9.85. McDonald, filling in for Courtney, ended with a 9.8 to help the Bruins score 49.125.
Zamarripa earned a score of 39.525 in the all-around and was edged in the all-around standings by Oregon State's Makayla Stambaugh, who scored 39.55. Wong was third with her score of 39.3.
"It's too bad we made the mistakes we made because there were so many great things that came out of tonight," said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. "Alyssa Pritchett continues to amaze. She did not have a very good warm-up at all but just really got herself focused and dialed in and was able to come out and compete really well. Same thing with Dana McDonald."
"Obviously the biggest thing was Lichelle Wong being able to overcome the memories of tearing her Achilles here last year," Kondos Field continued. "She was not expected to compete floor and vault and hasn't really competed it since last year, and we needed her to come in today. Not only was she confident to come in, but on the last day of training we had, she stayed in the gym longer to do floor and be ready on floor. No one asked her to do that; she did that on her own."
The Bruins head back out on the road next week, traveling to No. 2 Oklahoma for a dual meet on Friday, Feb. 22.
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