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Gym Dogs Fall to #1 Oklahoma, 197.375-196.75

Still making progress, but we've got a ways to go yet.

Brandie Jay performing on the beam (and somehow not being awarded a well-deserved 9.9)
Brandie Jay performing on the beam (and somehow not being awarded a well-deserved 9.9)
David Barnes/UGA Sports Communications

Good Monday morning, Dawg fans.  This meet recap is pretty late, and it's going to be pretty short, but to be honest, the story of this meet was pretty simple. Oklahoma is the #1 team in the country, and they performed like it on Saturday in Stegeman Coliseum.  Sometimes you just gotta tip your hat to a competitor when they come in and straight-up beat you. (Especially when they're not one of your rivals and you're not contractually obligated to hate them.)

It helps that, aside from two performances on the balance beam, the Gym Dogs actually had quite a nice meet. Here's a quick review of the four rotations (the dropped score in each rotation is struck through):

Roation 1 (Vault): 49.275
Broussard - 9.8
Vaculik - 9.8
Marino - 9.85
Snead - 9.85
Rogers - 9.875
Jay - 9.90

Rotation 2 (Bars): 49.400
Vaculik - 9.85
Cherrey - 9.85
Snead - 9.875
Schick - 9.875
Jay - 9.90
Rogers - 9.90

Rotation 3 (Beam): 48.675
Vaculik - 9.85
Jay - 9.85
Rogers - 9.30 (fall)
Babalis - 9.175 (fall)
Broussard - 9.85
Box - 9.825

Rotation 4 (Floor): 49.400
Babalis - 9.675 (almost-fall)
Rogers - 9.85
Marino - 9.90
Box - 9.90
Jay - 9.90

Snead - 9.85

Overall, we had one of our best meets of the year, and it's a strong step in the right direction for almost all of our performers, especially from a standpoint of consistency.  The thing is, though, we absolutely 100% rely on our 3 seniors on this team to hit every single routine every single time, and unfortunately senior Brittany Rogers fell on the beam (for the second time this season, which is also surprising). Sophomore Vivi Babalis had a poor meet in her two events, and her fall on beam ensured we'd have to count Rogers' 9.30 in that rotation. A fall from the beam carries with it an automatic 0.5 deduction.  If Brittany had simply managed not to fall and kept that 5-tenths, that would have given her a 9.80, and would have given the Gym Dogs a 197.25 overall score.  Still not quite enough to beat the Sooners on this day, but a big psychological difference from being in the 197 score range vs. the 196 range. That's how much just one routine can mean.

It's hard for me to be negative about this meet, though, even with once again having to count a fall on beam. That's because other than Rogers and Babalis, all of our ladies had excellent beam routines, even those performing after the 2 falls. And we tightened up our routines on our other three events, continuing to build our scores there.  Overall, I see progress continuing to be made here, and that's a good thing. In the last 3 meets, we've been more consistent on every apparatus (even the dreaded beam), and consistency is vital as we build to the postseason.

Looking forward from here to the postseason (we've only got 4 meets left in the regular season, after all), we've thoroughly torpedoed our rankings with all of the poor scores we put up early in the season. No matter how good our final 4 meets are, it's extremely unlikely we'll rise any higher than 8th in the rankings.  We're currently 10th, but from a mathematical standpoint, we're over 6-tenths away from #7 LSU, and that's an average of 6-tenths across all your team's scores. We're only 2-tenths away from #8 Auburn, so it's very possible we'll overtake them if we continue to perform well. As I said earlier this season, though, as long as we're in the top 12, we'll score one of the top two positions in the Athens Regional, and there's very little chance we'll fall that low.  Higher is always better, of course, as you risk being put into a harder matchup if your ranking is lower (and if we can overtake #8 Auburn and #9 Arkansas in the rankings, we'll get into the evening session in the SEC Championships), but we'll get more into those calculations as the season winds down.

Having completed their 3-week homestand, the Gym Dogs will now finish the regular season with 3 out of their final 4 meets on the road. Our road form hasn't been very good this season... well, let's be honest, we've sucked a lot of the time on the road, and the majority of our meets this year are road meets. But with the confidence boost that has come with the last 3 meets, let's hope our ladies can take that and use it to build on their road form.  They'll need it, after all, in most of the postseason.

The Gym Dogs' next meet will be against their biggest rival, the 3rd-ranked Alabama Gym Tide, this Friday in Tuscaloosa. The meet will start at 8:30 PM Eastern time, and will be televised live on the SEC Network. We've already beaten Florida this year... care to go 2 for 2 on the "list of rivals Vineyarddawg most wants to beat," ladies?

Go Dawgs!