UCLA Gymnasts Edge Stanford, 195.05-195.025
Jan. 27, 2008
Los Angeles, Calif. - It couldn't get any closer than it did between eighth-ranked UCLA and ninth-ranked Stanford on Sunday afternoon in Pauley Pavilion, and the Bruins edged the Cardinal by the smallest possible margin, 195.05-195.025. The meet came down to the final routine. Bruin senior Tasha Schwikert needed a 9.8 to earn the victory for her team and scored just that to keep UCLA undefeated on the year.
The Bruins took the early lead after scoring 49.225 on vault to Stanford's 49.125 on bars. Brittani McCullough led UCLA on the event with a first-place mark of 9.9. Kristina Comforte added a 9.875 and Schwikert a 9.85. UCLA's lead was short-lived, however, after two competitors fell on the uneven bars in the second rotation, leading to a score of 48.325 and a two-event total of 97.55. Jordan Schwikert was the team's high scorer with a first-place mark of 9.9. Stanford, meanwhile, racked up 48.975 on vault to take the lead with a two-event total of 98.1.
UCLA regained the lead after the third rotation thanks to six hit routines on balance beam and an event score of 48.95. Comforte had the high mark with a 9.85, and freshman Marci Bernholtz contributed a 9.8. Stanford had back-to-back falls on floor exercise and dropped to second place after scoring 48.175.
With UCLA ahead, 146.5-146.275, the two teams switched events, with the Bruins ending on floor exercise and Stanford on balance beam. Like UCLA in the previous rotation, Stanford hit 6-for-6 on beam, scoring 48.75. On floor, however, things started out a bit rocky for the Bruins, as McCullough scored 9.525 and Melissa Chan, making her season debut, scored 9.55. It got worse, however, when Comforte injured her knee on her opening tumbling pass, a front double full. She was unable to finish her routine and was carried off the floor. She will have an MRI on Monday to evaluate the extent of the injury. Needing to regroup after their teammate's injury, it was up to Anna Li and Tasha Schwikert to preserve the lead. Li scored 9.875 on her routine, and Schwikert needed to score 9.8 or better for the win. The eight-time All-American stepped up to the challenge, sticking her half-in half-out opening tumbling pass, as well as her middle pass of double full/punch front. On her double pike dismount, however, she took a small step just out of bounds for the one-tenth deduction, but with everything else in her routine perfect, she got the score she needed for the victory.
Li won the all-around for the third consecutive meet, scoring 39.2. McCullough was second for the third straight meet with a 38.925. Stanford Nicole Ourada placed third with a 38.6.
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