Bruin Gymnasts Beat Beavers, 196.575-196.350
Feb. 27, 2009
Needing to score at least a 9.775 on balance beam in the final rotation for UCLA to clinch the victory, freshman Aisha Gerber came through with a 9.875 to lead the fourth-ranked Bruins to a 196.575-196.350 win over eighth-ranked Oregon State in Corvallis Friday night.
The Bruin freshman from Cambridge, ON was clutch with the meet on the line. With the Bruins suffering a fall just one routine prior to Gerber's, there was little room for error, and Gerber had little error in her routine. Her 9.875 gave UCLA enough of a cushion to hold off the Beavers, whose 9.95 on floor from Mandi Rodriguez that was not enough.
UCLA had a slight lead after one rotation, scoring 49.05 on bars to Oregon State's 49.025 on vault. Ariana Berlin and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs led the way on bars, recording meet-high scores of 9.875. Anna Li contributed a 9.825, and Vanessa Zamarripa added a 9.8.
The Bruins built up their lead in rotation two after a strong 49.3 showing. Mizuki Sato led off with a 9.775, and the scores escalated from there. Berlin scored 9.825. Brittani McCullough added a 9.8, and the freshman trio of Hopfner-Hibbs (9.9), Gerber (9.875) and Zamarripa (9.9) closed out with big marks. Oregon State, meanwhile, scored 49.0 on bars to fall behind by .325 at the halfway mark.
Rotation three saw the Bruins increase their lead slightly with a 49.175 on floor exercise. Sato had another strong leadoff routine, scoring 9.8. Berlin followed with a season-high 9.85. Zamarripa went 9.8, and Gerber 9.6 after landing short on two of her tumbling passes. Hopfner-Hibbs earned 9.85 with her routine, and McCullough dazzled with a career-high tying 9.875. With the Beavers keeping pace with a 49.125 on beam, UCLA entered the final rotation ahead 147.525-147.150.
On balance beam, Berlin led off with a 9.75, followed by a 9.675 from Kaelie Baer. Niki Tom was sensational, scoring 9.875, and Zamarripa matched that mark with a career-best 9.875. Hopfner-Hibbs, who was having an outstanding meet, suffered a fall on the event, her first fall after 24 straight hit routines, but Gerber's 9.875 anchor routine clinched it for the Bruins, who totaled 49.05 on beam.
Zamarripa won the all-around with a 39.375, while Berlin placed third with a season-high tying 39.3. Berlin and Hopfner-Hibbs tied for first on bars, and Tom, Zamarripa and Gerber tied for first on beam.
UCLA improves its record to 10-2 and its RQS to 196.43. The Bruins will host top-ranked Georgia on Sunday, Mar. 8 at 2 pm in Pauley Pavilion. The meet will be televised live on FSN Prime Ticket.