Is it time to panic?
LSU gym saw its streak of scoring a 197 or better get snapped on opening night, a win at home versus Cal. But come on, that was just opening night jitters and the team has plenty of time to find its form. Gym has dominated the SEC recently and especially Auburn, so even though a road trip in the conference is never easy, this was a chance to reassert the team’s dominance.
Honestly, it didn’t start off too badly. LSU started off on the bars, and thanks to a trio of 9.925 scores by Kennedi Edney, Lexie Priessman, and Sarah Finnegan, LSU jumped out to a 49.350-49.125 lead after the first rotation. That was the good news.
The bad news was that while the team’s big three were putting up those big scores, the rest of the team lagged behind. Both Bridget Dean and Ruby Harrold scored under a 9.800. It’s those small point giveaways that tend to haunt a team. LSU doesn’t need the rest of the team to be putting up 9.9’s, but they do need to keep the pressure on with a steady stream of 9.8’s from the rest of the squad. Not a huge deal, but the cracks in the façade were there.
Then came the second rotation, which wasn’t so much a disaster for LSU, but a triumph for Auburn. Let’s give credit, the other team is trying to win, too. Auburn had four different gymnasts score at least a 9.90, and their lowest score which counted was a 9.875. Put it all together, and Auburn threw down a shocking 49.500 on the bars.
On the vault, LSU simply failed to keep pace. No one scored higher than Kennedi Edney’s 9.875. There were no falls or disasters. It was just… fine. LSU looked like a team working through the bugs of their routines in the early season, not really stretching for the huge scores. Which is usually the correct strategy in January because the other team rarely scores like Auburn did on the bars.
Still, at the halfway point, the score was 98.500-98.625. Auburn held a slight lead, but certainly not insurmountable. This would be a good chance to see what the Tigers are made of this season, as they would have to reach deep down and come back on the road.
It started ignominiously with an injury to McKenna Kelly in warmups before the floor rotation. The rotation itself was simply all over the place. From the highs pf Sarah Finnegan’s 9.90 to the lows of Kennedi Edney’s rare wobble and step out for a 9.675. Bailey Ferrer was called upon to step into Kelly’s place, and she responded with a 9.550. After all was said and done, LSU scored a 49.025 on floor.
The good news was, Auburn was worse on beam. Abbey Milliet salvaged the rotation with a 9.90, but Auburn was shaky throughout and narrowly avoided carrying a fall. The other Tigers scored just a 48.900, and we went into the final rotation tied.
And then it all fell apart. Christina Desiderio fell, putting pressure on the rest of the team to put up clean performances. They did not respond to the challenge. Durante scored a 9.725 and Dean a 9.675. Edney capped off perhaps her worst night in an LSU leo with a 9.70. Finnegan and Campbell closed things out with 9.825’s, which was far too little, and way too late. Auburn took home the meet by scoring 49.175 on the floor.
Auburn had left the door open, LSU simply walked into the frame. Repeatedly. Win the beam, win the meet. Well, last Friday, Satan’s Apparatus took home the win for itself.
It’s not time to panic yet, but it’s also getting a little too deep into the season to write it off as early season jitters. The mulligans stop now. LSU needs to find its form and right quick, as Florida comes to the PMAC this Friday.