UCLA Gymnasts Defeat Utah In Season Opener, 196.600-195.125
Jan. 9, 2010
Los Angeles, CA - Fifth-ranked UCLA hit 24-for-24 in its first meet of the 2010 season to record a 196.600-195.125 victory over second-ranked Utah in front of 5,128 fans in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday. The Bruins looked strong to start the year, recording five scores of 9.9 or higher and 15 scores of 9.8 or higher.
UCLA won all four events, scoring 49+ on vault, bars and floor, and swept the individual titles, with Vanessa Zamarripa winning vault and tying with Hopfner-Hibbs for first on beam, Hopfner-Hibbs taking first on floor, and Li winning uneven bars.
A pair of 9.9+ scores on vault in the first rotation gave UCLA an early 49.275-48.850 lead. Zamarripa debuted her new vault, a layout Podkopayeva, and scored 9.925, and Tauny Frattone scored a new career-high with a 9.9. The Bruins also benefited from a 9.85 by Li on her first vault since the 2008 season, and a pair of 9.8s from Hopfner-Hibbs and Brittani McCullough.
UCLA extended its lead to a full point during rotation two, scoring 49.175 on uneven bars while Utah scored 48.6 on vault. Li led all competitors with a 9.95, and freshman Lichelle Wong earned a 9.85 in her Bruin debut. Frattone scored another career-high with a 9.8 in her first career competitive routine on uneven bars.
The Bruins had a few wobbles on balance beam in rotation three but did not buckle under the pressure, scoring 48.9 to match Utah's score on floor. Zamarripa and Hopfner-Hibbs led the way with a pair of 9.875s.
UCLA put it away in the final rotation with six stellar routines that electrified the crowd and earned a team score of 49.25. Wong and Frattone, both competing on the event for the first time as Bruins, scored 9.75 each. Zamarripa, who competed a double layout for the first time, scored 9.85. Li also performed a double layout and earned a 9.825. McCullough delivered a career-high 9.9, and Hopfner-Hibbs closed the show with a 9.925.
'They prepared well and competed with calm confidence,' said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. 'This was not about beating Utah but about coming out and performing well. What they did was make a statement that we're back and ready to contend for the national championship.'