No. 20 UK Closes Road Swing at No. 6 Georgia Saturday
Jan. 31, 2014
NO. 20 KENTUCKY AT NO. 6 GEORGIA
When: Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 4 p.m. ET
Where: Stegeman Coliseum | Athens, Ga.
Live Video: GeorgiaDogs.com | Live Results : GeorgiaDogs.com
Meet Info: Meet Notes
Additional Info: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 20 University of Kentucky gymnastics team caps a three meet roadtrip at No. 6 Georgia Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. The Wildcats and Bulldogs square off in a sold out Stegeman Coliseum a year after UK tied UGA in Lexington.
A live video stream of the meet along with live results can be found on GeorgiaDogs.com. Live updates from Athens will also be available on Twitter at @UKgymnastics. The contest will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net and air on Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. ET with Brian Drebber and Lori Strong-Ballard on the call.
The Wildcats (4-2, 1-1 SEC) are 20th in the GymInfo Top 25 after three weeks of competition after a 195.150-193.775 win at Missouri on Jan. 24. The Bulldogs (2-3, 1-1 SEC), who opened the season with five competitions in 15 days, are ranked sixth nationally and are coming off a 198.050-196.700 loss at then-No. 3 Florida.
Kentucky tied Georgia in last year’s meeting, 195.825-195.825, in Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats trailed at the halfway point in the meet but won balance beam and floor, the final two events, to catch up to the Bulldogs. UK erased a 0.825-point deficit entering the final rotation. Audrey Harrison won the all-around title and finished first on floor. Saturday will be the 76th all-time meeting between the Wildcats and Bulldogs
COACH GARRISON PREVIEWS GEORGIA
“To this point in the season, we have been very average. Some great performances, but as a whole, we have had a cautious approach to each competition. I am looking for this team to compete with energy and confidence this weekend, but more than that, I want them to compete to their ability.”
SCOUTING NO. 6 GEORGIA
With one of the nation’s toughest schedules to open the year, Georgia is 2-3 on the season and 1-1 in SEC competition. The Bulldogs have competed five times in 15 days, and its meet against the Wildcats marks the halfway point in their regular season. After losses at No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 9 Stanford, UGA downed No. 2 LSU and Iowa at home before a loss last weekend at No. 3 Florida.
With a 196.785 season average, Georgia is sixth nationally. The Bulldogs are ranked in the top 11 on all four events, including the nation’s best average on uneven bars with a 49.435. UGA is eighth on balance beam with a 49.010, 10th on vault with a 49.220 average and has a 49.120 on floor, good for 11th-best in the country. In the top 25 rankings for individual events, the Bulldogs are ranked seven times, including four times on bars. Senior Lindsey Cheek leads the way with a No. 2 ranking on bars and is 11th on vault and 17th on balance beam. Sophomore Brittany Rogers is fourth on bars and 19th in the all-around. Junior Chelsea Davis and freshman Kiera Brown are also in the top 25 on bars, at third and 21st, respectively.
LAST YEAR VS. THE BULLDOGS
Kentucky produced a dramatic late rally to spark a wild finish in Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 8, 2013, as UK tied Georgia, 195.825-195.825.
In an exciting evening of action that reached a fever pitch with the final event of the night, the Wildcats won the final two events and erased a 0.825-point deficit going into the final rotation. Kentucky trailed 146.7-147.525 as it went to floor, but rallied to outscore Georgia 49.125-48.3 on the final rotation to pull off one of the most impressive regular season conference dual meet results in school history.
Audrey Harrison won the individual all-around title for the second straight week with a 39.300 and also took the floor exercise crown after a 9.900 helped spark the improbable comeback. The final four Wildcats to compete on floor each notched scores above 9.800. Kayla Hartley’s 9.825 to anchor the event would seal the tie.
UP NEXT: VS. NO. 2 FLORIDA (FEB. 7, 7 P.M. ET)
The Wildcats return home to face second-ranked Florida on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.
Kentucky hosts the defending NCAA and SEC champions in Memorial Coliseum after the Gators claimed their first national crown in 2013. UF is undefeated on the season and is ranked first or second nationally on three events.
LAST TIME OUT: AT MISSOURI
In its first true road meet of the season, Kentucky had season high scores on three events en route to a 195.150-193.775 win at Missouri on Jan. 24.
The Wildcats won their first three events, vault, uneven bars and floor, all with season best scores. Individually, UK notched three event titles along with the senior Audrey Harrison’s all-around win. Fifteen career or season highs were set or tied in UK’s first dual meet of the year.
Harrison led UK with a 38.675 to win the all-around title for the second time in three weeks to open the year. Harrison also won floor and tied two others, including sophomore Tiara Phipps, for the win on uneven bars. Sophomore Amy Roemmele won balance beam. Harrison posted UK’s first 9.900 of the season on floor and tied Phipps on uneven bars, who was making her collegiate debut on the event.
CATS RANKED 20TH NATIONALLY
After three weeks of competition, the Wildcats are ranked 20th as a team and are within the top 30 on all four events. With a 194.933 average, UK is one of seven SEC squads in the top 25.
After season-high scores on three events, the Wildcats moved up in the rankings on floor, bars and vault. Kentucky is 16th on floor with a 48.983 average and 21st on balance beam with a 48.517. The Wildcats are tied for 27th on uneven bars with a 48.683 and 30th on vault with a 48.750 average.
RECORD CROWD SEES EXCITE NIGHT WIN
As Kentucky beat three teams to win its season-opener on Jan. 10, it did so in front of one of the largest crowds in UK gymnastics history. A crowd of 5,839 witnessed the Excite Night victory, which marked the largest since 2007, when 6,875 where in attendance. It also marked the third-largest UK home crowd since at least 1997.
2014 SCHEDULE NOTHING TO LAUGH AT
With 10 top-25 teams on Kentucky’s 2014 slate, including four of the top five, ranked in the preseason coaches poll, the Wildcats face one of the most grueling schedules in the nation. Among top-25 teams, CollegeGymFans.com has tabbed UK’s schedule as the toughest in the country, while RoadtoNationals.com the Blue and White’s schedule as the second-best strength of schedule among all NCAA teams. Seven of the SEC’s eight teams enter the season ranked nationally, with the eighth, Missouri, receiving votes.
HIGHEST PRESEASON RANKING
The Wildcats earned their highest preseason ranking in team history at 21st. In the GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll, UK is one of seven SEC teams ranked nationally, led by top-ranked and defending national champion Florida and No. 2 Alabama. In 2012, head coach Tim Garrison’s first season, the Wildcats were ranked 23rd while they were voted 25th last season.
UK returns 13 letterwinners from the record-setting 2013 team and lost just two. Among the returners are seniors Holly Cunningham, Audrey Harrison and Kayla Sienkowski along with redshirt junior Kayla Hartley. Harrison returns after winning a league-leading six all-around titles in SEC competition last year. The Wildcats welcome three freshmen, Alyssa Bertoni, Kirsten Canini and Taylor Puryear to the team in 2014.
A LOOK BACK AT A RECORD-SETTING 2013
Kentucky is coming off a record-setting 2013 campaign that saw numerous school records fall. UK earned a ninth-consecutive NCAA Regional bid with a school-record regional qualifying score of 196.06 after breaking the team best score twice. A 196.775 in the regular season finale at Penn State bested the previous high score, set earlier in the season at Ball State.
The Wildcats notched three wins against SEC opponents, the most in program history and earned a 3-3-1 league mark, also a school best. All three wins were against teams ranked in the top 15, with two over top-nine foes. In postseason play, UK tallied the program’s highest-ever NCAA Regional team score of 195.575 and finished fourth at the regional.