No. 19 Women's Gymnastics Seeks First Pac-10 Win At Cal

Jan. 31, 2002

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This Week --
Back up to 19th in the rankings after a season-high performance last week vs. Stanford, Arizona State's women's gymnastics team (1-2) will search for its first Pac-10 victory of the season Sunday, February 3, vs. California (3-1) at the Recreational Sports Facility Field House in Berkeley, Calif., at 2:00 p.m. PST. ASU is 21-2 all-time in regular season meetings with Cal, and has won the last nine straight.

California (3-1) --
The Golden Bears' three wins include a 193.250-193.125 decision over pre-season No. 10 Oregon State at home. Their only loss was at Washington last weekend by the score of 194.800-192.625, just two days after a win at Seattle Pacific. California, which is coached by Trina Tinti in her fifth season, returned eight letterwinners from last year's squad that went 17-19 and placed seventh at the Pac-10 Championships.

ASU In The Rankings --
The January 28 rankings, the first to list teams based on their season-average, have ASU 19th in the nation with a score of 193.642. In the event-by-event rankings, ASU is 23rd on vault (48.483 avg.), 20th on bars (48.567), unranked on beam and 17th on floor (48.775). The Sun Devils' best team score of 2002 was scored in a losing effort against Stanford, 195.450. In the preseason coaches poll, ASU was picked ninth, just behind Stanford (8th) and just ahead of Oregon State (10th). Throughout the rest of the season, the weekly GymInfo rankings will be based on one of the following criteria: highest score (Jan. 14, 21), season average (Jan. 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18), regional qualifying score (Feb. 28 thru season's end). For a complete list of the current rankings see Page 2 of this release. For more information access www.gyminfo.com/troester.

Recent Results --
Held back by three falls on balance beam, Arizona State suffered only its fifth regular-season home loss, falling 195.775-195.450 despite a season-high team total. The Sun Devils led 98.100-97.825 after the first two rotations, but while Stanford scored a steady 48.725 on floor, the Sun Devils opened beam with two falls and closed with one. The Cardinal would then hit six-for-six on beam. Several Sun Devils turned in strong performances in the losing effort. On vault, ASU sophomore-walk-on Jada Cox improved her career high to 9.9, ASU's best score on vault this year. Freshman Nicole Gause, in her second collegiate meet earned her second 9.8 on vault. On the uneven bars, junior Margaret Wojciak tied her career best with a 9.9. Wojciak's 9.775 later on floor was an outright personal best, while her 9.8 on vault was a season best. Ashley Ellsberry went for 9.9s on balance beam and floor, while Cassidy Vreeke had her best meet of the season with a 9.725 on vault, 9.8 on beam and 9.875 on floor, en route to meet MVP honors.

Up Next --
The Sun Devils will compete on a larger stage Friday, February 8, when they host the four-team UNO's Classic at 7:00 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena. ASU's three opponents are Cal State Fullerton, Oregon State and Southern Utah.

All-American Laura Moon (senior) --
One of two returning All-Americans on ASU's 2002 roster, the Sun Devils were hoping that senior all-arounder Laura Moon could lead them throughout the season. Unfortunately, injury struck first. And while she will no doubt factor in ASU's postseason goals, Moon is not expected to return from preseason knee surgery until mid-February.Last year, her first as a Sun Devil after two team-MVP stints with the University of Maryland, Moon wasted no time working her way into the ASU record books. Against Auburn, in one of her 11 appearances in the all-around, Moon earned a school record total of 39.600. Helping her to that sum was Moon's second perfect 10.0 score on the uneven bars, causing her to join Danna Lister as the only Sun Devils ever to record a pair of perfect marks in the same season (Lister earned two 10.0s on beam in 1994).Moon also had season highs of 9.825 on vault, 9.925 on beam and 9.925 on floor. Out of a combined 49 routines, Moon scored 9.9 or better 11 times. At the NCAA Championships, Moon earned second-team All-America honors with her 17th-place finish in the all-around, scoring 39.100.

All-American Maggie Germaine (sophomore) --
Coming off a meet in which she set or tied her season bests on vault (9.85), bars (9.875) and floor (9.9), and in the all-around (38.925), Maggie Germaine has maintained her status as one of the Sun Devils' most dynamic competitors. Led by a pair of 9.9s, Germaine is tied for 13th nationally on floor with a 9.892 average. She has struggled on beam, suffering a fall in each of ASU's three meets. Last season, Germaine fell in only two of 13 beam routines, finishing the season with a high of 9.875 and an average of 9.623.
Also in 2001, Germaine was named ASU's co-MVP with Laura Moon after becoming the first Sun Devil freshman to earn All-America honors since Elizabeth Reid in 1997 (second-team, vault). The only Sun Devil to compete in the all-around at all 13 meets, Germaine hit an impressive 46-of-52 routines, including 41 of her last 44. Her season-best all-around total of 39.550, scored against Arizona, tied her with Amy Shelton (1997) for third all-time at ASU. Her event-by-event highs were 9.925 on vault, 9.9 on bars, 9.875 on beam and 9.925 on floor. Seven of Germaine's final 28 routines were scored at 9.9 or better.

Ashley Ellsberry (junior) --
Who is the Sun Devils' next All-America candidate? Look no further than Ashley Ellsberry, ASU's most consistent beam and floor artist over the past two seasons. After tying her career-high on floor with a 9.9 vs. Stanford, Ellsberry is tied for 22nd in the national rankings with a 9.875 average. On beam, Ellsberry suffered the only fall of her last 15 routines at UCLA, but has gone for 9.85 and 9.9 in ASU's other two meets this season. Last year, after suffering falls on beam and floor in the season opener, Ellsberry responded by hitting her final 24 routines of the season, scoring at 9.8 or better 17 times. She has career best of 9.95 on beam and 9.9 on floor.

Rhonda Robinette (senior) --
A team co-captain, Robinette has the ability to be ASU's leader on balance beam, although she has hit only two of three routines thus far this season with a high of 9.65. Robinette has been improving on bars however, steadily increasing her scores from 9.55 to 9.75 to a 9.775 last weekend. Last season, Robinette appeared on beam in all 13 meets, and competed on bars seven times. One of her two season-high 9.8s on bars was turned in at the NCAA Central Regional. On beam, Robinette suffered only three falls, with the rest of her 10 routines all going for 9.8 or better. Among them was a 9.9 vs. Arizona and a career best 9.925 vs. Utah.

Cassidy Vreeke (junior) --
After a slow start in 2001 that saw her hit only three of her first eight routines through four meets, Cassidy Vreeke had a breakthrough performance in ASU's fifth meet vs. Stanford (9.7 v, 9.825 bb, 9.825 fx). This season, it was more of the same. Although she'd hit only two of five routines with a high of 9.675 (fx), Vreeke snapped out of her funk vs. Stanford by hitting all three of her routines en route to season highs of 9.725 (v), 9.8 (bb) and 9.875 (fx). If Vreeke continues to mimic her sophomore season, she'll provide ASU with some much needed consistency down the stretch. Last year, Vreeke went on to score 9.8 or higher on vault four times (9.875 high), hit seven of her last 10 beam routines (9.85 high) and hit for 9.9-or-better on floor in three of ASU's last four meets including a career-best 9.95 at the Pac-10 Championships.

Margaret Wojciak (junior) --
Magaret Wojciak is coming off arguably the best meet of her career vs. Stanford, after scoring a 9.8 vault, a career-best tying 9.9 on bars and a career-best 9.775 on floor. Wojciak had hit only three of her first six routines going into the Stanford meet. Last year, Wojciak posted eight scores at 9.8 or better on bars with three 9.9s and scored a pair of career-high 9.8s on beam at the NCAA Regional and NCAA Championships (semifinal). Her other 2001 highs were 9.65 (v) and 9.75 (fx), in a combined five routines away from bars and beam.

Youth Movement --
In its quest to return to the NCAA Championships, ASU is relying heavily on the performances of its three freshman, Trisha Dixon (Fair Oaks, Calif.), Nicole Gause (College Station, Texas) and Kari Muth (Mesa, Ariz.). In three meets this season, ASU has had at least two freshman in every rotation but two (10-of-12). Dixon has been the most consistent, with only one fall in 10 routines, however, she has scored a 9.7 only once with season highs of 9.675 (v), 9.675 (ub), 9.7 (bb), 9.525 (fx) and 38.500 (aa). Gause, who has been held back by a sprained ankle, has competed only twice, but has earned 9.8s on vault both times. Muth, who scored a season-best 9.875 on floor vs. UCLA, is coming off her most complete meet of the season vs. Stanford, where she tallied marks of 9.875 (v), 9.775 (bb) and 9.6 (fx).

Important Imports --
ASU welcomed a pair of transfers in the off-season, and both sophomore Carla DeMartini and junior Melissa Lewis have made an impact in 2002. DeMartini, who spent her freshman season at the University of Oklahoma, sat out the first meet of the season but has been an important part of ASU's floor lineup since, with scores of 9.775 and 9.8. She's also competed twice on bars en route to a best of 9.6. Lewis comes to ASU from Cal State Fullerton and has added depth to ASU's vault lineup. In her only competitive performance, Lewis suffered a fall (9.375). However, her exhibition in the Stanford meet earned a 9.6.

New & Improved --
Now a sophomore, walk-on Jada Cox is having a breakthrough sophomore season after competing sparingly as a freshman. In 2001, Cox didn't compete until the ninth meet, but filled in admirably down the stretch completing three vaults for 9.7-or-better over ASU's final five meets. In the 2002 season debut, Cox improved her then-best to a 9.775, before placing third overall at UCLA with a 9.65 effort. Last meet vs. Stanford, Cox made another giant leap forward, launching her career high up to a 9.9.

Comeback Trail --
Senior All-American Laura Moon isn't the only Sun Devil rehabbing a knee. Last year, Amber Giorgianni had a strong first half of her freshman season, posting highs of 9.825 (v) and 9.875 (bb) through eight meets. However, in ASU's final warm-up on vault before the ninth meet of the year (vs. Auburn), Giorgianni suffered a torn ACL and was lost for the season. Still rehabilitating the injury, Giorgianni has appeared only appeared in exhibition conditions this season.

Tough At Home --
For 25 straight regular season meets -- including four in 2001 -- no one could overcome ASU at Wells Fargo Arena. Not even No. 1 UCLA. In that span, the Sun Devils defeated 39 consecutive opponents dating back to 1996. However, in the 2001 season finale, ASU beat Iowa and Kentucky, but could not top No. 7 Nebraska, which shot to No. 4 in the rankings after turning back ASU for only the third time in the last 44 meets at Wells Fargo Arena. Then, in ASU's second home meet of 2002, No. 14 Stanford defeated the Sun Devils 195.775-195.450, marking Stanford's first-ever regular-season win in Tempe. While home losses are irregular, ASU has now lost two of its last three home meets dating back to last season. That's its worst home stretch since the beginning of the 1992 season when the Sun Devils lost twice to start the season. What followed was a stretch that through the Stanford loss has seen ASU defeat 64 of its last 68 regular season opponents at home. The dates of ASU's last five home losses are as follows: Stanford (1/25/02), Nebraska (3/16/01), Utah (2/2/96), Utah (2/11/94), Oregon State (2/7/92).

The Fans --
While ASU's attendance report may not have rivaled Georgia's (last season's national leader in average attendance), the 2001 Sun Devils drew some of their largest crowds in recent history. Highlighted by a turnout of 2,108 that saw the Sun Devils upset No. 1 UCLA, ASU drew a total of 6,671 fans to Wells Fargo Arena for an average of 1,334 per meet. That was good enough for ASU to finish 16th in the national attendance rankings, its highest finish since GymInfo began tabulating national figures in 1998. This season, ASU's home attendance is off to a strong start, after crowds of 1,102 (Utah State) and 1,320 vs. Stanford. The crowd that witnessed the Stanford meet was ASU's seventh-largest regular season home attendance since 1996.

Beam Blues --
Traditionally one of ASU's strongest events, the 2002 Sun Devils have yet to defeat an opponent on balance beam and have completed only 9-of-18 routines without a fall.

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