The No. 9 Auburn gymnastics team was edged by No. 2 Oklahoma 196.300-195.325 Friday night at Beard-Eaves-Coliseum. An enthusiastic crowd of 5,750 fans were on hand to support Auburn's annual "Flip for the Cure" meet to combat breast cancer, as both Auburn and Oklahoma sported pink leotards during the meet.
"For the most part, I'm really proud of our girls," said head coach Jeff Thompson. "We accomplished our goal and hit five out of six on every event. Unfortunately, the misses were in the middle, which puts our girls on edge if someone falls in front of them."
The Tigers opened up the night on vault, where a trio of Tigers turned in solid scores. Freshman Toi Garcia paced Auburn with first event title of her young career, scoring a 9.875. Sophomore Justine Foster chipped in a 9.850, and classmate Allyson Sandusky hit a 9.825 to give Auburn an event score of 48.975.
Oklahoma began on bars, with all-six gymnasts surpassing the 9.8 mark.
The Sooners were led by Hollie Vise, who entered the meet as the top bar performer in the nation after scoring a 9.9 in the first meet of the season. Vise hit a 9.925, helping Oklahoma score a 49.225 in the event.
Auburn then moved to bars, where Sandusky continued her solid night, tying a career-high of 9.9 that she established last year at the SEC Championships. Also shining on bars was freshman Petrina Yokay with a 9.825. In total, Auburn scored a 48.950 in the bar discipline heading into the third rotation.
In rotation two, Oklahoma was on vault, and were led by Natalie Ratcliff with a 9.85. Three other gymnasts hit at least a 9.8 to give the Sooners a 49.050 event score. After two rotations, Oklahoma held a
Rotation three found the Tigers on beam, where Kylie Shields was the bright spot for the Tigers in the event, matching a career-high of 9.85 that was set last year against Illinois-Chicago. Katie Hurley was second in the event for Auburn, sporting a 9.775. Auburn totaled a 48.600 in the event.
The Sooners extended their lead while on floor, and were led by anchor Jacqueline Flanery who hit a 9.85. Megan Ferguson and Kristin Smith also played a key role in the Sooners scoring a 49.000 in the event, as each hit 9.825's, respectively. Oklahoma entered the fourth and final rotation with a commanding 147.275-146.500 lead.
Auburn took to the floor in rotation four, where senior Krissy Voss tied a career-high with a 9.85 en route to sharing the event title.
Shields continued the solid performances a 9.825, in what was only the second floor routine in her stint as a Tiger. The pair of solid performances helped Auburn tally a 48.800 on the exercise.
Oklahoma used a pair of 9.875's on beam with both Ferguson and Vise reaching the mark. The pair were backed by Kristin Smith and Natasha Kelley who hit 9.775's to total a 49.025.
Auburn had the only two all-around competitors, with Voss scoring a 38.850 and Shields compiling a 38.525.
"We're doing well and we're headed in the right direction.
We're focused on where we're going to be in April," said Thompson.
Over 1,500 dollars were raised by the sale of pink "Flip for the Cure" t-shirts that littered the Coliseum seats. All proceeds from the sales will be donated to the East Alabama Medical Center Foundation Breast Cancer Fund.
The Tigers return to action next Friday, Jan. 22 as Auburn hits the road for the first time this season, trekking to Baton Rouge to take on LSU. Last season, then No. 6 Auburn defeated then No. 10 LSU 196.575-195.300 at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. The meet is slated to begin at 7 p.m. CT from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.