Jan. 12, 2011
AUBURN, Ala.--The Auburn gymnastics team is set to host its first home meet at Auburn Arena Friday at 7 p.m., against No. 25 LSU.
"We are all extremely excited about competing in the new Auburn Arena," head coach Jeff Graba said. "I think it is quite possibly the best arena in the country for gymnastics. Our fans are absolutely essential to giving us an advantage at home and we hope that they'll turn out in large numbers to support us in the first ever gymnastics meet in this venue."
LSU is the second ranked opponent Auburn will face this season. The Tigers will square off against eight ranked teams this season, facing three of those at home, are using the high competition as a platform to continue to grow as a team.
"I would like to see us focus on putting a whole meet together both individually and as a team," Graba said. "This will be a great environment against a quality opponent, and it will be a tremendous opportunity for us to grow as a team."
Friday is the first of six straight conference opponents for the Tigers. LSU is one of six ranked SEC teams that Auburn will face this season.
"LSU is an extremely talented team, and I expect them to show up ready to do a very good job against us," Graba added. "However, if we can just keep our heads down and stay focused as a team I think we can compete with nearly anyone in the country."
After falling in its season opener to Iowa State last weekend, Auburn plans on using what it learned from that experience to make necessary improvements. Workouts and routines have been tapered to better prepare them for LSU and the rest of the season.
"We've worked very hard this week to get the team ready," Graba said. "We feel we learned some things from our first meet and have made some changes to a few routines that reflect this."
The team will look to Rachel Inniss, Kylie Shields and Petrina Yokay to lead the Tigers after their performances at Iowa State.
"I think we should see Kylie (Shields) and Rachel (Inniss) again doing a good job on bars, beam and floor," Graba said. "Vault had no real standouts last week except for Petrina (Yokay), and I expect her to continue to do well there."
Inniss won the individual balance beam title with a 9.850, while Shields won the uneven bars title with a 9.825 and Yokay scored a 9.825 to win the vault title.
"We definitely have a number of athletes on each event that should be pushing these individuals for scores, and I am interested to see who steps up out of this group." Graba added.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the first 1,000 fans will receive an LED light up wand. There will also be pre-meet fireworks for the crowd to enjoy.
Single meet tickets are on sale now starting at $5 for adults and $2 for youth, and season tickets are $30. Family packs which include four season tickets are available for $80.
For more information please call the Auburn Ticket Office at 1-800-AUB-1957 or go online at www.AUBTix.com.