March 2, 2012
AUBURN – Senior Kylie Shields had a career night in the all-around competition with a total of 39.475 as she led No. 15 Auburn to a 196.700-193.150 win over Southern Utah on Friday in Auburn Arena.
“It’s been really fun to watch Kylie,” Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. “We want her to go out on a good note. She was feeling a little bit of pressure the last couple weeks. This week, she started to settle down and it’s nice to see her come out with one of the best performances of her career.”
The Tigers posted their second-highest score of the year and their third total over 196.000 on Friday night, something that will aid Auburn as it seeks to improve its national standing with NCAA Regionals approaching. The score also ties for the fourth-best total in program history, joining the 196.700 against LSU in 2006.
“We talked as a staff beforehand and we feel like the team is starting to feel comfortable in their gymnastics and comfortable in their roles,” Graba said. “It’s fun to watch. Every good score is important. Going over 196.000 is important to us because it helps our RQS. We were excited to see that. I’m really excited to go 24-for-24 and do good gymnastics in the process. “
Auburn put together its best vault score of the season in rotation one and jumped out to an early lead. Led by a 9.850 from Kylie Shields and a quartet of 9.825 scores, the Tigers scored 49.150 on the apparatus.
The second-highest uneven bars total of the season for Auburn widened the gap even more after two rotations, 98.575-96.550. A career high tying 9.925 for Shields, along with a 9.900 from Petrina Yokay paced the Tigers as they posted a team score of 49.425 on bars. Allyson Sandusky added a 9.925 and Megan Walker scored 9.850.
The Tigers scored 48.875 on beam without a fall. Led by a 9.850 from Shields and a pair of 9.800 scores from Yokay and Bri Guy, Auburn stretched its lead to 147.450-145.000 after three rotations.
Shields tied her career high on floor with a solid 9.850 run as Auburn secured the victory. Guy capped the fourth rotation with a career-best 9.950 on floor to end the night in exciting fashion and finish Auburn’s total of 49.250 on floor.
Guy finished second in the all-around with her score of 39.350. Southern Utah’s only all-arounder, Caitlin Kennedy, finished with 38.375. Auburn posted the highest individual score on each event, with Shields recording the leading total in three events.
Auburn is in action next on March 9 at Southeast Missouri State.