Complete coverage of the Diamond Dogs’ season-opening victory at Foley Field earlier this evening will be up tomorrow. For now, though, what you need to know is that the previously undefeated Gym Dogs remain undefeated.
It wasn’t easy, though. Second-ranked Georgia faced seventh-ranked Arkansas in Fayetteville, and, after the meet, Suzanne Yoculan said: "I am a little disappointed by some of the mistakes. It was weird where some of the mistakes happened. I still believe what we do in practice will carry over to the meets, and I’m waiting for that to happen. We had some high points, but we still have so much work to do."
The first rotation saw the Red and Black on the uneven bars, where scores of 9.925 from Grace Taylor and 9.95 from Courtney Kupets helped to produce a 49.35 tally for the visitors. This was not enough to give the Gym Dogs the early lead, however, as the Razorbacks’ four 9.9s---yes, four 9.9s---in the vault earned the home team a 49.45 mark.
Georgia answered with a trio of 9.9s from Marcia Newby, Lauren Sessler, and Tiffany Tolnay on the vault during the second stanza. Because Arkansas did not notch a single score above 9.875 on the bars, the Red and Black outdueled their hosts in the rotation, 49.325-49, to give the visitors a 98.675-98.45 edge at the halfway point.
Kupets, whose 9.65 had been the low vault score for the Gym Dogs, received a 9.425 in the floor exercise, but Taylor’s 9.9 and Hilary Mauro’s and Cassidy McComb’s 9.875s in the third rotation boosted the Red and Black to a 48.9 cumulative score that trailed only slightly the Razorbacks’ 49 on the beam. This brought the overall tallies to 147.575 for Georgia and 147.45 for Arkansas.
You can’t keep America’s best collegiate gymnast down for long, so it was no surprise that Kupets turned in a 9.975 on the balance beam in the final stanza. High marks from Taylor (9.95) and Tolnay (9.9) garnered a 49.35 for the Red and Black, outpacing the 49.275 collected by the home team in the floor exercise.
Although Courtney Kupets’s combined mark was a 39, the Razorbacks’ Jaime Pisani outpaced her with a 39.35, but the meet went to the Gym Dogs by a 196.925-196.725 margin. Georgia’s 9-0 overall record and 5-0 conference ledger will be put to the test next Saturday, February 28, when the Red and Black will host the Gators in their final regular-season S.E.C. showdown.
While Coach Yoculan’s squad is not altogether flawless, the Georgia gymnasts remain perfect in terms of wins and losses, which is what counts, and there is no coach in the sport you would rather have preparing this squad for the stretch run than Suzanne Yoculan.