Jan. 20, 2014
ATHENS, Ga.----Sixth-ranked Georgia completed a perfect home stand as it defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes by a score of 197.400-194.675 Monday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum. The score was a season-high for Georgia topping the 197.175 recorded in Friday's win over No. 2 LSU, it was also the second highest score recorded in the country this year.
Several gymnasts recorded season-highs as the Gym Dogs (2-2) placed first on every event with Lindsey Cheek recording high-scores or joint high-scores on three of the events. Cheek's 9.9 led all gymnasts on vault while Cheek, Kiera Brown and Brittany Rogers top scored on bars with a trio of 9.95's. Cheek and Kaylan Earls high scored on beam with two 9.925's with Brandie Jay sealing to sweep on top scores for Georgia as she led performers on floor with a 9.9. Rogers scored a 39.525 in the all-around.
After three consecutive contests against top-10 teams, head coach Danna Durante said she was impressed with the focus her team had shown during the early part of the season.
"We take it meet by meet, as coaches we don't let ourselves get ahead, if one of us gets ahead the others go `well, we're not going to take about that,'" head coach Danna Durante said. "We didn't talk about how tough this stretch would be, we as a staff knew and they probably knew but we didn't vocalize it. We just talked about what we wanted to see, where we were going to go, what we were going to do and I think that helped getting our minds very narrow and focused on each routine, each event and each meet. I'm incredibly impressed and I said it Friday and I'll say it again I'm incredibly proud of this team."
Georgia opened the meet with a 49.175 score on vault. This was highlighted by Cheek, who ran her streak of 9.9 scores on vault to four consecutive meets to start the season. Chelsea Davis, Cat Hires and Jay bagged a three 9.825 scores for the Gym Dogs. The Hawkeyes recorded a 48.775 score on bars with Sydney Hoerr providing the highest individual score of 9.875.
The theme of season-high scores started on bars as Georgia notched a 2014 leading 49.525 as four of six gymnasts recorded scores of 9.9 or higher with three earning scores of 9.95. This was the highest bars score for a Georgia team since 2009. Brown, Cheek and Rogers all recorded season-high scores as they led the Gym Dogs with 9.95's while Jay opened the rotation with a 9.9 which tied her career-high mark. Iowa recorded a 48.350 score on vault headlined by Amanda Kowalski's 9.775.
At the mid-point Georgia held a commanding 98.700-97.125 lead as the teams headed to the balance beam and floor exercises.
Georgia carried the momentum into the third rotation as they outscored Iowa 49.425-49.000. The Gym Dogs score was highlighted by Kaylan Earls, who anchored the Georgia rotation with a season-high 9.925, and Rogers' season-high 9.9. The third rotation score pushed the home team's lead to 148.125-146.125 heading into the final rotation.
"I'm really proud of myself improving every week and getting adjusted again. It's not easy jumping into the season like that with four meets," Rogers said. "We have some fixing to do obviously like every team does- we're not perfect but we're getting there."
The Gym Dogs closed the meet in style with a 49.275 score on the floor exercise with Jay highlighting the effort with a 9.9 score. Earls and Rogers also scored season-highs with a 9.875 apiece.
Georgia will return to action on Friday night at 7 p.m. when it visits the Florida Gators. No.3 Florida will be the fourth top-10 opponent Georgia has faced this season. The Gym Dogs return home on Feb. 1 as they welcome Kentucky to Stegeman Coliseum. For ticket information, visit Georgiadogs.com or call the UGA Ticket Office at 1-877-541-1231.