UCLA Edged Out At Georgia, 197.9-197.875
March 6, 2010
UCLA earned a season-high 197.875, its highest team score since 2004, but was edged out by host Georgia, who scored 197.9. The Bruins hit 24-for-24 for the second-straight meet and set season-highs on vault (49.5) and beam (49.65), and UCLA sophomore Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs scored the first perfect 10 of her career on balance beam.
Aisha Gerber started the competition for UCLA with a solid leadoff routine on uneven bars that scored 9.8. Brittani McCullough followed with a 9.7 after taking a few steps on the dismount. The Bruin freshmen, Monique De La Torre and Lichelle Wong, scored 9.85 and 9.825, respectively. Vanessa Zamarripa earned 9.9, and Anna Li closed with a huge Tkatchev and just a tiny shuffle on her double layout dismount, scoring 9.925. The Bruins' 49.3 team score, however, trailed Georgia's 49.475 vault total. The Gym Dogs had no score lower than 9.85 on vault, with high honors going to Kat Ding, who scored 9.975.
The Bruins moved to vault for rotation two and put up a season-high team total of 49.5, the eighth-highest team score in school history, to move into the lead by a slim 98.8-98.775 margin. Gerber led off with a 9.825, followed by a 9.875 for Hopfner-Hibbs and a career-high tying 9.9 by Li. McCullough received a 9.875 after a big Yurchenko layout full. Tauny Frattone nailed her Yurchenko half-on front pike off vault for a 9.9, and Zamarripa scored 9.95 for her Yurchenko layout full. Georgia scored 49.3 on bars to match the Bruins' total from rotation one.
UCLA lost its lead in the third rotation despite scoring 49.425 on floor. Georgia's 49.55 on beam gave the Gym Dogs a one-tenth lead, 148.325-148.225. Frattone's leadoff score of 9.85 set the tone for the Bruins. Wong had a strong routine going until stepping out of bounds on her final tumbling pass, which dropped her score to 9.625. Zamarripa picked things up with a 9.9. After a 9.825 from Li, McCullough and Hopfner-Hibbs closed the rotation with a pair of 9.925s, a career-high mark for McCullough and a season-high for Hopfner-Hibbs. Grace Taylor scored a perfect 10 on beam to pace the Gym Dogs.
The Bruins saved their best for last on balance beam in the final rotation, scoring 49.65, the third-highest mark in school history. Li got UCLA off to an incredible start with a 9.925 leadoff routine. Competing second, Hopfner-Hibbs nailed her routine, scoring a perfect 10, UCLA's first on beam since Kate Richardson on Feb. 1, 2004. Niki Tom followed with a 9.825, and Gerber hit a 9.85. Zamarripa scored 9.925, and Mizuki Sato nailed her routine for a career-high 9.95. Unfortunately, the score wasn't quite enough, as Georgia scored 49.575 on floor to edge out the Bruins.
'It's hard to believe we can lose meet going 197.875 but even though we started off a little slow it was great to see our team conitnue to build momentum throughout the meet and finish strong on beam,' said UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field. 'We're excited for Elyse (Hopfner-Hibbs) to finally receive a 10 on an event where she's a world bronze medalist, and it's nice to be able to continue to build on our consistency and confidence as we head into postseason.'
UCLA (9-3) finishes out the regular season at home on Sunday, Mar. 14 against Michigan State and Cal State Fullerton.
1) UGA 197.900
2) UCLA 197.875