Jan. 29, 2009
Sixth-ranked Auburn (2-2, 0-1 SEC) will host No. 10 LSU (6-1, 1-1 SEC) in a Southeastern Conference match up Friday night at 7 p.m. CT in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. Auburn will be seeking its second-straight win and its first in league action. Live stats and video will be available on auburntigers.com.
"We want to continue to be consistent and do what we do week in and week out, regardless of what our opponent is doing," head gymnastics coach Jeff Thompson said. "From our perspective, it doesn't matter who were competing against. It's great for our fans that we're home again and it's great for our gymnasts to be home. We're looking for a big crowd on Friday and it should be an exciting meet."
Friday's meet is the second consecutive in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum for the Tigers, while LSU is on the road for a second time in as many weeks. Auburn's latest victory was a 196.275-195.225 win over No. 18 Iowa State. In the victory, the Tigers reached the 49-point mark for the first time this season on bars and had seven individuals reach career scores. With the win over ISU, head coach Jeff Thompson earned his 90th career victory.
LSU (6-1, 1-1 SEC) is coming off of a 196.575-195.225 road victory at Kentucky. As a team, LSU posted season-high scores on bars (49.300), beam (49.025) and floor (49.075) and scored a 49.175 on vault as the Bayou Bengals cracked the 49-point barrier on all four events against the Wildcats.
Auburn enters Friday night's meet ranked among the nation's top-10 on all four events: third on floor (49.144), sixth on beam (49.044), eighth on bars (48.956) and 10th on vault (48.994). LSU is ranked second on vault (49.256) and 10th on floor 48.862.
Leading the way for head coach D-D Breaux's are five-time All-American and defending NCAA vault champion Susan Jackson, two-time All-American and defending all-around and floor SEC champion Ashleigh Clare-Kearney and bars All-American Summer Hubbard. Clare-Kearney was also named co-SEC Gymnast of the Year, along with Auburn's Lindsey Puckett.
"They have, with Ashleigh Clare-Kearney and Susan Jackson, two of the highest-ranked returning gymnasts on their team," Thompson said. "I think that our seniors scores will hold up with their scores, it's how our underclassmen do compared to theirs."
LSU holds the upper hand against Auburn in the all-time series, 46-8. The last meeting was at the 2008 SEC Championship. LSU placed fourth, just ahead of Auburn, 196.500-196.100. Auburn defeated LSU on Feb. 17, 2006, in Baton Rouge, La., 196.700-196.550. It has been five years, Jan. 24, 2003, since Auburn was victorious against LSU in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.