Sophomore MJ Rott scored a 9.9 on floor and a 9.95 on vault to help Auburn record the highest team score in history with a 197.300.
By Ethan Brady
AUBURN, Ala. - No. 9 Auburn Gymnastics broke its all-time team score but was edged by No. 2 LSU 197.350-197.300 on Friday in Auburn Arena. Auburn's team score broke its previous high of 197.175 against LSU in 2013 and raises its 2015 season average to 196.270.
"The atmosphere was fantastic," head coach Jeff Graba said of the crowd of 6,688. "It was electric out there. I think the girls drew a lot of energy from the crowd, and it showed in our performance. We talked in the locker room before we came out about embracing the energy and you get hyped up for the number two team, you get hyped up for the crowd. I feel like we're really clicking at this point."
Auburn tied its all-time team vault score with a 49.500 led by MJ Rott and Lexus Demers' 9.950. For the third straight week, Demers broke her career-high, earning the event title with Rott. The overall vault score was the highest since Auburn faced Denver in 2008.
"I thought we ended a tremendous vault sequence with a really good vault," Graba said. "It was unbelievable to watch. I was at a loss of words for our team meeting after. I didn't have a lot to say and they laughed at me a little bit. It was a lot of fun to watch."
Auburn finished the meet on floor with a season-high team score of 49.325 led by a 9.900 by Rott. Rott said she was inspired by tonight's Flip For the Cure promotions benefitting breast cancer awareness.
"I did this for my grandmas," Rott said. "My great-grandmother and grandmother died of breast cancer, and I just told myself I was doing it for them. Nothing else could stop me, and I just let it go. It was just fun competing out there, and the score showed."
In the second rotation, Auburn scored 49.200 on bars led by a 9.875 from Caitlin Atkinson. On beam, Megan Walker led Auburn with a career-high tying 9.925. The score gave Walker her fourth event title of the season.
"This crowd helped us, and the girls embraced the energy," Graba said. "We've learned these past few weeks how to compete at a high level. Talking to the LSU coaches, we both said you have to have these types of meets to see how your girls react. I got what I expected out of our team. We pushed the No. 2 team to the edge. We basically stepped on our old high score, and you can't do much more than that."
Auburn will face Missouri in Columbia live on the SEC Network for the second consecutive week next Friday at 8 p.m. CT.
Single meet ticket prices are $3 for groups of 15 or more, $5 and $8 general admission, and Auburn University students are free. Go to AubTix.com for ticket information.
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