Gym Dogs Post Season High In Loss To Alabama

Feb. 25, 2011

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ATHENS, Ga. --- The fourth-ranked University of Georgia gymnastics team posted a season-high score of 197.225 - its first 197 or above of the year - in Friday night's 197.675-197.225 loss to No. 5 Alabama inside Stegeman Coliseum.

Alabama's score was also its season-high as the Crimson Tide move to 9-1 (4-1) on the year. The Gym Dogs stand at 7-4 (3-3) and have concluded the SEC portion of the regular-season schedule.

Georgia has now scored a 49 or above on each apparatus in three straight meets totaling 13 in a row dating back to Arkansas on Feb. 4.

Tonight's meet was Georgia's annual "Pink Out," supporting the fight against breast cancer. The Gym Dogs wore pink leotards designed by junior Kat Ding.

"I feel like we had a good meet," said head coach Jay Clark. "We gave away too many tenths on bars and that's where we lost it tonight. Other times bars have been where we won it. Every time we face somebody, they have their season high. Every time we get better, the other team seems to get better too. We have to give Alabama credit tonight because they finished strong. We stayed close enough to where Alabama had to go over and hit beam, and they looked fantastic."

"I do feel good about the fact that we are improving. We did better than we did last week, top to bottom, our scores are getting better, and we are just going to keep plugging away. We know where we can improve, and we will."

Georgia started the night off with a bang as the Gym Dogs posted their second-highest vault total of the season - a 49.350 - with the help of five scores that either tied or set season-highs for the gymnasts. Ding posted a 9.925 to set her season-best by a full tenth and tie for the event title, while senior Cassidy McComb posted a 9.900. Cat Hires, Noel Couch, and Mariel Box also put up their best scores of the year, and Alabama scored a 49.325 on bars as Georgia took a slim lead after one.

The Crimson Tide took control on the second event as they scored a 49.500 to match their best output of the season there. Georgia's stop on bars included a 9.950 for Ding as the junior took another event title, but Alabama took the 98.825-98.575 lead at the midway point. That score was the Gym Dogs' best of the season through two rotations.

Shayla Worley scored a season-high 9.900 and Christa Tanella tied her best of the year with a 9.875 to help the Gym Dogs to a 49.225 on the balance beam. But Alabama kept pace with a 49.150 on floor to maintain the lead at 148.150-147.800 through three, which still marked Georgia's highest three-rotation score of 2011.

Rounding out the competition was floor, where the Gym Dogs saw three 9.9s including a 9.950 for McComb - tying her career-best and giving the senior her 12th event title of the season. Couch also tied her career-high with a 9.900 and Mauro matched it to give Georgia a 49.425 on the event. The Crimson Tide got a 49.525 on beam to secure the road victory.

McComb scored a 39.450 for Georgia too take third in the all-around, while Couch was fourth with a career-best 39.325.

"It was a good meet," Ding said. "Even though it wasn't a win for us, it was a step up from last week. Every meet has been a progression, and every team brings their A-game to us because they know our potential. We are just going to keep fighting, and when we finally put a meet together, at home or away, it's going to be awesome."

Georgia leads the all-time series vs. Alabama by a margin of 75-44-2 since 1980.

Tonight's meet will air on tape-delay on ESPNU on March 3 at 10:30 p.m.

The Gym Dogs will next compete on the road at No. 9 UCLA also in competition with No. 25 Arizona on March 6 at 5 p.m. ET. The regular-season finale will come the following week as eighth-ranked Michigan comes to town for a 4 p.m. showdown on March 12, Georgia's final tune-up before the SEC Championships.

Team Results

1. Alabama - 197.675 (Vault - 49.500, Bars - 49.325, Beam - 49.525, Floor - 49.325)

2. Georgia - 197.225 (Vault - 49.350, Bars - 49.225, Beam - 49.225, Floor - 49.425)

Georgia Results

Vault: Cat Hires - 9.800; Noel Couch - 9.850; Mariel Box - 9.825; Kat Ding - 9.925; Cassidy McComb - 9.900; Hilary Mauro - 9,850

Bars: Christa Tanella - 9.725; Noel Couch - 9.775; Gina Nuccio - 9.850; Cassidy McComb - 9.825; Shayla Worley - 9.825; Kat Ding - 9.950

Beam: Noel Couch - 9.800; Kat Ding - 8.550; Christa Tanella - 9.875; Hilary Mauro - 9.875; Shayla Worley - 9.900; Cassidy McComb - 9.775

Floor: Mariel Box - 9.850; Christa Tanella - 9.675; Noel Couch - 9.900; Gina Nuccio - 9.825; Cassidy McComb - 9.950; Hilary Mauro - 9.900



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