Gymnastics Grinds Out SEC Opener Win Over Georgia
ATHENS, Ga. – The sixth-ranked LSU gymnastics team improved to 2-0 in 2022 and secured its 16th-straight win over the Georgia Bulldogs in a 196.850-196.100 win on Friday night in Stegeman Coliseum.
The win marked the Tigers’ third straight over the Bulldogs in Athens. LSU earned its first league win of the year.
“I think we knocked off some rust tonight,” head coach Jay Clark. “Given that we haven’t competed in three weeks and it was the first road meet I was happy that we grinded it out and got the win. We missed some opportunities, but overall I was proud of this team because they never gave up the fight.
“Alyona (Shchennikova) responded tonight and got a 9.90 on floor when we needed it the most. That is some real growth. I also cannot say enough about Christina (Desiderio) and what she did on beam to start in that last rotation. She has a way to settle the team and she did it again tonight.”
LSU opened the meet on fire with three of the first four performers earning a 9.90 to secure wins on the night. Kiya Johnson opened with a 9.90 and Kai Rivers followed by matching her score. Olivia Dunne earned a 9.825 in the third spot and Haleigh Bryant followed with a 9.90. In the sixth spot, Sami Durante scored a 9.825 to give LSU a 49.350 and narrow lead after UGA’s opening 49.325 on vault.
The Tigers struggled to find their landings on vault and finished with a 49.150 to once again lead the Bulldogs by .050. Rivers and KJ Johnson opened with a 9.85 on their Yurchenko Full. Sarah Edwards scored a 9.725 in the fourth spot of the lineup. Kiya Johnson and Bryant wrapped up the rotation with a 9.875 and 9.85 respectively.
LSU scored a 49.100 on floor and mishaps by Georgia on beam allowed LSU to take a 147.600-147.025 lead going into the final rotation. Desiderio opened with a 9.70. Dunne sored a 9.80 in her first collegiate routine on floor and Edwards added a 9.825. In the final two spots, KJ Johnson earned a 9.875 and Shchennikova anchored with a crucial 9.90.
In the final rotation of the night, LSU scored a 49.250 with six hit routines to clinch the win. Desiderio opened beam with a 9.90 and in her first collegiate routine Aleah Finnegan scored a 9.875. Durante followed with a 9.775 in the third spot. Bridget Dean and Kiya Johnson closed out the night with scores of 9.80 and 9.90.
Shchennikova also earned the all-around victory, her second in as many meets.
LSU returns to the PMAC to face Auburn on Saturday, February 4. First vault is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the meet will be televised on the SEC Network.