The Tigers look to stand tall and strong in an earlier meet than usual.
#3 LSU heads back on the road in SEC play hoping to come away with a better result than their last road meet. Last week, the Tigers set a new program record in their win against Arkansas 198.475-196.200. Tonight, they face #19 Georgia at 5:00 p.m., yes really, on SEC Network with Bart Conner and Bridget Sloan on the call.
Match-up history for LSU and Georgia
LSU is 44-71-2 all-time against Georgia in all competitions and is 7-22 on the road. The last time the two teams met on the same floor was at the first semifinal of the 2023 Denver Regional at which LSU tied for first ahead of third place Georgia 197.375-197.000. The last time these two teams met in Stegeman Coliseum was in 2022 when LSU beat the GymDogs 196.850-196.100. LSU has a 20-meet win streak against Georgia including SEC Championships (despite them not having been in the same session since 2019) that began at the 2016 SEC Championships. LSU’s last loss to Georgia was on 2/13/16 in Stegeman.
About #19 Georgia
Georgia was ranked #16 in the preseason poll after a bounce-back 2023 season. The Bulldogs finished 8th at SECs and 20th overall, a 10-spot improvement over 2022. That’s still a far cry from where they should be considering their legacy and resources.
Georgia lost nine members of their 2023 roster who combined for 9 NQS routines, tied with Florida for most in the SEC. Even worse, two of the three fifth-year seniors they retained, Haley de Jong and Vanessa Deniz, are out for the season with injuries, so add five more NQS routines and an NQS in the all-around lost. That’s 14/22 NQS routines Georgia had in 2023. They’ve had to make up for it with their eight freshmen and Kentucky grad transfer Ashlyn LaClair. It hasn’t been perfect, but Lily Smith and Ady Wahl look like forces to be reckoned with, especially Smith. She got a bars 10 in just her third meet, the first 10 by a Georgia freshman since 2001 and the first by a freshman on bars since Karin Lichey did so as part of her 40.000. She also shared SEC Co-Freshman of the Week honors with Konnor McClain this past week.
Georgia is 1-4 on the season and 0-4 in the SEC after losing to Florida 197.475-197.300 at home Friday, a loss which clinched their fifth consecutive losing season in SEC regular-season play. They are 28th on vault [49.005], 11th on bars [49.265], 17th on beam [49.100] and tied for 27th with Illinois on floor [49.140]. This team has very clear weaknesses on the leg events, and it’s not like they’re being dragged down by fluky flops. Vault hasn’t cleared 49.200 yet this season and floor has been on and off.
Courtney Kupets Carter is in her seventh season as head coach. She is assisted by three second-year assistants: assistant coach Ryan Roberts, the guy who got Smith to flip from Alabama when he left them, assistant coach Sam Welbourn, the coach who had his interim tag removed after the 2023 season, and assistant coach Mollie Korth, a volunteer assistant in 2023 who earned a paid spot once the NCAA allowed teams to hire a third full-time assistant coach.
About #3 LSU
LSU ranks 2nd on vault [49.395], 3rd on bars [49.485], 13th on beam [49.170] and 1st on floor [49.540]. There hasn’t been any word at the time of this story being submitted, roughly 9:30 a.m., on anything about the lineups, but based on last week, it’s probably safe to assume that KJ will be back in for Livvy on floor is she’s feeling ok. It should be a fun meet if they can hit, but that’s still an if. If LSU can put up a solid performance, they’ll earn a nice road score and set up their NQS with a good start.
Yes, this meet will impact LSU’s NQS because it’s the sixth meet and third road meet. Any score below 198.475 will count and any score above 198.475 will be dropped as the highest score. The rankings won’t start to use NQS until around Week 7. LSU needs this win to keep pace in the SEC regular season championship race, and there’s no reason this group can’t do it tonight. It may be 5:00, but the job will just be starting.