Jan. 27, 2012
AUBURN - For the second-consecutive week, Auburn gymnastics posted a season-high total score in front of a record crowd in the Auburn Arena. Despite falling to Alabama, 196.325-196.250, the Tigers bested their previous season high earned in last week's meet against Georgia of 195.600.
"The crowd was unbelievable," Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. "I absolutely love this atmosphere. The Alabama coaches were absolutely excited about it because it pushes them. Our team pushed them, and it tested us. You can't get better than that. The thing I really like was we proved to this crowd that we're legitimate."
The attendance was 7,299, besting last week's Auburn Arena gymnastics record by nearly 3,000 fans.
"We beat our record of 4,000 with 7,000 I think," freshman Bri Guy said. "The energy was awesome and the crowd really kept me and the rest of the team pumped."
Auburn led off with solid routines on vault. Junior Toi Garcia paced the Tigers with a 9.875, while freshman all-around competitor Guy tied her season high with a 9.850. Senior Kylie Shields added a 9.775, while fellow senior Allyson Sandusky posted a 9.725. Freshmen Caryn Kadous and Brittany Webster each earned scores of 9.675, a season-best score for Webster. Auburn finished with a 48.900 on vault.
Alabama began on uneven bars, and despite a close catch on a release from Sarah DeMeo, the Crimson Tide led Auburn by less than one-tenth through the first rotation, posting a 48.975.
The Tigers moved to bars in the second rotation where all six gymnasts posted season or career-high marks. Sandusky led Auburn with a season-high 9.925, followed closely by Shields with a career-high 9.900. Junior Petrina Yokay earned a season-best 9.875, while sophomore Abbey Habicht and freshman Megan Walker each posted scores of 9.775, tying for the top marks in the Auburn career for each.
Friday night marked the first time Guy competed in the event, posting a 9.725. Auburn's bars total of 49.250 was a season-high.
The Crimson Tide moved to vault where it posted a strong 49.325, behind a 9.925 from Ashley Sledge and four additional scores of 9.850. Alabama stayed just ahead of Auburn through the first half of the meet.
Auburn stayed consistent on beam, and stayed within .150 of Alabama through the third rotation heading into floor. Yokay led off for Auburn and tied her career-high with a 9.825, while Walker earned a career-high 9.800. Habicht posted a 9.775 and Shields added a 9.725. Sandusky rounded out the event with a 9.700.
Alabama had a few missteps, but managed to match the Tigers' 48.825 on beam in the third rotation on floor.
The Tigers fought to record marks on floor, but it was just less than what would be needed to overcome a 49.200 from Alabama on beam.
Guy anchored the event for Auburn, besting her previous career-high with a score of 9.925. Garcia earned a 9.875, and the Tigers stayed strong with three marks of 9.825 from Kadous, senior Laura Lane and Shields. The team posted its highest floor mark of the year with a 49.275.
"Floor's really coming around, and we've known it's going to come around," Graba said. "We feel like we're becoming a deeper team on floor, and we have a lot of potential there. We did as good a job as we can tonight. Hopefully we'll get a little more depth next week or the week after."
Auburn took home event titles on both bars and floor, as well as the all-around title where Shields picked up her second-consecutive all-around win with a 39.225. Sandusky tied for first on bars with Alabama's Ashley Priess, each posting scores of 9.925. Guy posted a 9.925 on floor for the title, while Garcia placed second with a 9.875.
Auburn is in action next on Friday when they travel to face top-ranked Arkansas, marking the third week in a row the Tigers will face a team ranked in the top six.