Georgia Gym Dogs 195.425, West Virginia Mountaineers 194.075

Tonight was not pretty, but we knew it was going to be a tough meet. There is an explanation for every mistake that was made and many of them are the same ones we have been making in practice. This is obviously going to be a team that is going to have to fight for everything they get all season because we did not look like a top team tonight.

How high are the expectations for the Gym Dogs? The words quoted above were spoken by Suzanne Yoculan after Friday night’s victory.

The Red and Black began their home opener on the vault, where Courtney Kupets, competing in her first meet since returning from last season’s injury, lost points on her landing to card a 9.675. That was the low score for the Bulldogs in the event, in which Georgia posted an overall 49.175 on the strength of Cassidy McComb’s and Tiffany Tolnay’s 9.875s. The Mountaineers, who were on the bars for the first rotation, tallied a 48.475 team score.

Kupets made up for her initial miscue in the second rotation, which began poorly for the Gym Dogs when Abby Stack missed the bar during her routine. The fall cost her, as she managed only a 9.25, but, after Tolnay earned a 9.9, Kupets put together a great routine on the uneven parallel bars and stuck the landing to receive a 9.975. Georgia’s overall 48.85 outpaced the 48.825 notched by West Virginia on the vault.

In the meet’s third frame, a fall by Paige Burns during her balance beam routine once again got the Gym Dogs off to a rough start, but Kupets and Hilary Mauro came through with 9.85 scores to push the home team’s tally to 48.775 for the event, again exceeding the Mountaineers’ 48.65 in the floor exercise.

The meet closed with Georgia on the floor for the fourth rotation. The Red and Black ended solidly with a 9.85 by McComb, a 9.9 by Stack, and a 9.95 by Kupets. The scores not only allowed the Bulldogs to post an overall 48.625 in the floor exercise but also enabled Kupets to claim the all-around crown with her 39.45 for the night.

Because West Virginia earned a 48.125 on the balance beam, Georgia cruised to a 195.425-194.075 victory despite not yet being in midseason form. As always, live scoring was available at GeorgiaDogs.com, but free streaming video also could be had there. The commentary provided by Katie Heenan Dodson featured an interview with former Bulldog football player Kelin Johnson and confirmed that the Gym Dogs’ all-time leading scorer was rooting the same way I was on Thursday evening, with conference pride trumping regional rivalry.

Coach Yoculan’s squad will be on the road next Friday night for a meet with Louisiana State in Baton Rouge.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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