Gymnastics Looks For First Win Of Season Against Oregon State
Jan. 16, 2001
This Week --
Two weeks after the 2001 season opener in Hawai'i, Arizona State's women's gymnastics squad will meet Oregon State at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore., with competition scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. PST (8:00 p.m. MST).
Recent Results --
The Sun Devils (0-2) would have been hard-pressed to select a more beautiful location to open the 26th season of ASU gymnastics, the Maui Invitational offering some of the best scenery on earth. However, it would have been equally difficult to select a more challenging group of opponents, as the preseason No. 11 Sun Devils were greeted by No. 1 UCLA and No. 6 Nebraska. In arguably their toughest meet of the regular season, ASU stumbled to a team total of 191.525, its lowest in almost three years (see notes next page). Meanwhile, UCLA's Olympian-packed team was nearly unstoppable. Picking up an astonishing three perfect 10s, UCLA finished with a meet-high 196.2, ahead of runner-up Nebraska's 194.95.
Oregon State (0-2) --
OSU entered the season with 12 athletes returning from the 2000 squad that earned the Beavers' first NCAA Championships appearance in four years. But in the first meet of 2001, OSU's depth was reduced by injury. While losing to No. 3 Michigan 194.075-190.925, the Beavers' endured a more devastating loss to sophomore All-American Tanya Ricioli, who ruptured her left Achilles tendon in her first tumbling pass on the floor. Ricioli is undoubtedly out for the season, which OSU hopes is not the case with sophomore Elizabeth Jillson, who injured her right knee while competing on vault. As quickly as OSU's depth was challenged, it was made unmistakable two days later. While they could not overcome No. 6 Nebraska's 195.225, the Beavers posted an impressive road total of 194.9.
OSU, Rank and File --
The Beavers are currently absent from the GymInfo rankings, but only because of an inaccuracy. With the Jan. 15 rankings based on a team's high score, OSU's 194.9 against Nebraska should rank ninth (see rankings next page). That's an improvement from the preseason coaches poll that pegged OSU as 12th. In its preseason gymnastics rankings, Sports Illustrated for Women picked the Beavers eighth in the nation.
Last Time vs. OSU --
ASU moved to 7-1 on the season and extended its home winning streak to 17 meets with a 195.3-194.3 victory over OSU, Feb. 4, 2000. Although trailing by two-tenths heading into the final rotation, the Sun Devils came up with a 49.175 on the floor to secure the victory. Senior Elizabeth Reid led the way for the Sun Devils with a 9.925, while Kelly Christensen-Cowley established a then-career-high 9.9 in the event. On the bars, Kim Skinner and Margaret Wojciak finished runner-up to Reid, as ASU produced its third-best score of the season in that event: 49.25.
All-Time vs. OSU --
Although ASU has won its last three home meets against OSU, the Sun Devils are 9-13 all-time against the Beavers and have not defeated them on the road in a regular season meet since winning the Hawaii Gymfest in December of 1983 (other teams appearing at the meet were Washington, USC, California and Boise State).
Fab Frosh --
Maggie Germaine showed the cool of a veteran in her first collegiate appearance of the season. The only Sun Devil to compete in all four events, Germaine performed a team-best 9.775 on the balance beam, added another 9.775 on the floor, hit a 9.8 on bars and added a 9.425 on vault to finish with an all-around score of 38.775 -- higher than any ASU all-around score in 2000.
Moon Rising --
Laura Moon -- a junior from Scottsdale, Ariz. -- transferred to ASU in the off-season after two MVP seasons at Maryland. As good as those seasons were, Moon wasted no time showing improvement as a Sun Devil. Despite being limited to one event because of an ankle injury, Moon lifted her career-high in the bars from 9.925 to 9.95.
Aloha Means Good-bye --
Don't be surprised if the Sun Devils do their best to stay away from Hawai'i in the future. ASU's third-place finish at the Maui Invitational in the 2001 season opener was the result of the Sun Devils' worst team score (191.525) in almost three years. Ironically, that Jan. 18, 1998 atypical total of 191.175, included a loss to UCLA and was just eight days after ASU had combined for only 191.0 -- albeit in victory -- at the Maui Invitational.
As Low As They Go --
Just how low was ASU's team total at the Maui Invitational? Consider this: Including post-season appearances, ASU has had 79 meets of record from the 1997 season debut through the 2001 opener. Of those performances, ASU has finished below 194.175 only 10 times.
Starting Slow --
ASU has good reason to believe it will rebound in the coming weeks. Of the last 15 season openers dating back to 1986, 10 have seen the Sun Devils struggle to their lowest team totals of the year (Years in which they did not: 1989, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2000).
Before the 2001 season could get under way, ASU felt the sting of injuries. Laura Moon was limited to one event at the Maui Invitational because of an ankle sprain, while Shannon Geary was unavailable due to a bad ankle. Both should be available against OSU.
Rule Change --
Unlike previous years in which gymnasts were allowed two attempts on the vault (with the higher score counting), this year athletes will only be allowed one attempt at the apparatus.
Up Next --
The Sun Devils don't have to wait long before trying to redeem themselves against UCLA. ASU will put it's 20-match home winning streak on the line when it welcomes the defending national champion Bruins to Wells Fargo Arena Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. MST.