Jan. 17, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. - Ninth-ranked Georgia turned in a season-high score en route to defeating second-ranked LSU 197.175 - 196.875 in its home opener on Friday evening at Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia gymnasts placed first or tied for first on three events, including a meet-high and career-high 9.975 on bars by Chelsea Davis, while Lindsey Cheek scored a 9.925 on bars and a 9.9 on vault. Cheek has now scored a 9.9 or higher on vault and bars in all three meets to open the season.
"I'm not sure I can put this into words. I'm incredibly proud of this team," said Georgia head coach Danna Durante. "We asked them to fight. We sort of had this battle theme coming in, and they really did that. We knew it was going to be tough, but as I've said to lots of folks, we just knew it was going to be tough. LSU is a strong team."
Georgia (1-2) opened with a season-best score of 49.375 on vault behind a pair of 9.9s from Cheek and Davis, as the total tied tied a career-high mark for the latter. LSU scored a 49.2 on bars.
The Gym Dogs maintained their lead in the second rotation with another season-high score of 49.475 on bars. Davis turned in the highest score with a career-best 9.975. Cheek tied a career high with a 9.925 on the apparatus, while sophomore Brittany Rogers earned a 9.9.
LSU totaled a 49.425 on vault, as Georgia led at the midway point 98.850 - 98.625.
The Tigers outscored Georgia 49.175 - 49.050 in the third rotation, but the Gym Dogs maintained the overall lead by a tenth of a point at 147.9 - 147.8. Cheek was Georgia's top performer on beam with a 9.875, while senior Kaylan Earls anchored the rotation with a 9.85. Freshman Morgan Reynolds finished with a career-best 9.8 on beam.
In the fourth rotation, Reynolds and sophomore Brandie Jay each turned in high scores of 9.9 to lead Georgia to a 49.275 on the event. The 9.9 marked yet another career high for Reynolds in her first-ever home meet. LSU totaled a 49.075 on beam to round out competition for the evening.
"We feel amazing," said Davis. "There was so much energy in the building, and we could feel it from everyone. We're just really excited to embrace it."
"I knew (the score) was very, very close, and I knew that we had trained well on floor this week," added Durante. "We had asked them to do that. We just kept building them up and giving them little reminders to have them trust that they are prepared to do this. I'm just really excited."
This was Georgia's third top-10 opponent to start the season and second opponent ranked in the top three after the Gym Dogs faced No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 9 Stanford on the road last weekend.
Georgia will return to action on Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. against Iowa. Tickets are available for purchase on georgiadogs.com or by calling the UGA Ticket Office at 1-877-541-1231.
1. Georgia 197.175 (VT - 49.375, UB - 49.475, BB - 49.050, FX - 49.275) 2. LSU 196.875 (VT - 49.425, UB - 49.2, BB - 49.075, FX - 49.175)