LIVE BLOG: No. 7 Alabama at No. 6 LSU

I am so excited for this meet, you guys. I can’t remember the last time these two teams were so evenly matched. Alabama, thanks in part to some of the incredible freshmen on its roster, looks much stronger than we’ve seen for the past few seasons. On the flip side, a more depleted LSU has had a slower start to its season than normal, but it had a very strong showing last week against Florida. Plus, the Tigers boast one of the toughest road environments in NCAA gymnastics, which will undoubtedly work to their advantage. The path to victory won’t be easy for the Crimson Tide, but it is within closer reach than it has been in years. 

There were a lot of exciting developments last week: Kiya Johnson scored her first perfect 10 on beam and will be bringing that momentum into this matchup. Luisa Blanco competed in the all around for the first time, showing she is far more than just a beam (and toe point) queen. Will we finally see Makarri Doggette add vault to complete her all around program as well? 

I am also curious to see who will be in on vault and floor for LSU junior Sarah Edwards, who is out after suffering an ankle sprain last week.

You can catch the meet on SECN and follow along with live scores here.

I am looking to see if this began on another channel since Missouri and Arkansas hasn’t quite finished yet – hang tight. 

Ah, here we go. Also we have lineups and apparently Edney is not vaulting? 

Rotation 1: LSU vault, Alabama bars

Rivers (LSU): FTY, flared out, hop back 9.800

Dickson (ALA): bail to handstand, nice toe point. Hard to tell handstands from this angle. Big tkatchev. FTDB dismount, hop back. 9.825

Nibbs (LSU): FTY, piked down at the end with a hop. 9.775

Graber (ALA): Good first handstand. Geinger, legs come apart. Bail to handstand was good. Beautiful last handstand. FTDB, legs a little wonky in the air but stuck. 9.875

Rau (LSU): Y1.5, way too much power, takes three big steps forward. 9.575

Gaskins (ALA): Good first handstand, beautiful. Legs together on maloney but came apart on the pak salto. That toe point though. Final handstand wasn’t great. DLO dismount, almost stuck. 9.825

Harrold (LSU): Y1.5, sits it down. This is not going well for LSU so far. Eesh. 9.225

Givens (ALA): Hecht mount, little short on the first handstand. Blind change into straddled jaeger looked good. Bail to handstand was great. Short final handstand, DLO dismount stuck. 9.850

Johnson (LSU): DTY, the tiniest hop back. LSU needs that. 9.950

Mahoney (ALA): Great first handstand. Bail to handstand was beautiful. Tkatchev, little low. Short final handstand. Sky high FTDB dismount, little hop. 9.875

D’Antinio (LSU): FTY, big step back. 9.650

Doggette (ALA): Beautiful tkatchev into pak salto, beautiful. One of the most textbook DLOs I’ve seen, tiny hop back on the dismount 9.875

AFTER ONE: Alabama 49.300, LSU 48.750

YIKES to that vault rotation for LSU, especially after how great it looked last week. The Tigers will not be happy with how that went, sans Kiya Johnson’s gorgeous DTY. Unclear about where Edney is, or why she wasn’t in the lineup. Nibbs was in for Edwards as we expected she might be. Alabama had a beautiful bar rotation, something they needed to do in order to get any sort of lead anyway, but LSU just blew the door wide open for the Crimson Tide – now time will tell if they can capitalize on that moving forward.

LSU just tweeted that Kennedi Edney is limited tonight. Hmm. 

Rotation 2: LSU bars, Alabama vault

Mahoney (ALA): FTY, beautiful form, tiny hop. 9.850

Johnson (LSU): BEAUTIFUL first handstand, leg separation on her maloney. Short on her final handstand, DLO dismount slight hop back. 9.875

Blanco (ALA): FTY, hop back. Not quite as much amplitude as Mahoney but still nice. 9.800

Dean (LSU): Toe on taktchev, flexed feet but nice. Bail to handstand looked a tiny bit short from this angle. Short on final handstand, leg separation on DLO and hop back. 9.775

Dickson (ALA): FTY, good height , doesn’t get much distance, and step back. 9.725

Rivers (LSU): Great first handstand, pretty maloney to bail to handstand. Tkatchev was good. Short final handstand, big hop back on DLO dismount. 9.800

Burgess (ALA): FTY, not a lot of distance. Hop back. 9.825.

Durante (LSU): Blind change to jaeger, beautiful. Leg separation on pak salto. Short final handstand FTDB, the tiniest hop. 

Olsen (ALA): DTY, didn’t look like she got a good block. Piked down and a hop. 9.700

Shchennikova (LSU): Good first handstand, messy legs on the maloney. Tkatchev to pak salto looked ok. Lets go early on her DLO dismount that will never not make me nervous. 9.800

Graber (ALA): Y1.5, big step forward. 9.825

Harrold (LSU): zuchold was her normal. Tkatchev looked good. Handstands were clean. Looked pretty similar to last week to be honest. 9.900

AFTER TWO: Alabama 98.325, LSU 98.000

LSU came back and closed the gap to a much more manageable three tenths deficit after that rotation. Both teams gave away tenths on hoppy landings and some form issues. LSU being sans Edney and Edwards is definitely noticeable, but if they have clean beam and floor rotations they should still be okay. Alabama basically just needs to keep the momentum going, and they are well on their way to a very respectable road score.

Rotation 3: LSU beam, Alabama floor

Dessiderio (LSU): She is very wrapped, I am concerned. BHS LOSO, solid. Leap series was fine, looked a little short. Front aerial to sissone, was fine. Gainer full dismount. 9.825

Mahoney (ALA): Double tuck, super controlled. Leap series was good from what I could see, camera angle makes it a little hard to tell. Second pass landed a little short, had to take a step forward. Double pike to finish, lacked control and almost went OOB but saved it. 9.750

Dean (LSU): Had some stream issues but I’m back – front aerial, split jump, solid. Side aerial into back full, stuck but heels apart. 9.825

James (ALA): Tucked full in, big step back and goes OOB. Leap series looked good. Front layout to rudi, looked nice. Some very fun choreo to finish. 9.700

Durante (LSU): Front aerial split jump, solid. Aggressive and sharp BHS LOSO. Switch, switch side was good. Side aerial to back full dismount, not quite a stick but close. 9.850

Olsen (ALA): Stuck her double double. DANG GIRL. Beautiful leap series. Front through to a double tuck to finish, tumbling was a little slow but gets it done. 9.850

Edney (LSU): Front aerial into split jump, balance check but hides it well and looks like she saves the connection. BHS LOSO was solid. Switch to switch side, good. Front toss, lands sideways but saves it with a smile. RO 1.5 stuck dismount. 9.875

Desch (ALA): Double pike to start, flexed feet but good. Back 1.5 to barani to split jump to punch front, looked good. Leaps were short. Big double tuck to finish. 9.875

Johnson (LSU): BHS LOSO, big balance check, leans to the side. Leap series looked good. Front aerial, good. RO double full dismount, step forward. 9.800

Doggette (ALA): Piked full-in to start looks great, little hop back. Her split positions in the air looked good. Front tuck through to double tuck is almost stuck again just the tiniest hop. Great routine. 9.950

Campbell (LSU): BHS LOSO, super solid. Balance check after the full turn. Front aerial, balance check before split jump. She kept moving but it was a definite break. Switch half was nice. RO double full dismount, stuck. 9.850

Graber (ALA): Tucked full in to start, controlled step back. Straddle leap and wolf 1/1 looked good. Front tuck through to double pike, solid and controlled. 9.900

I hear boos for Campbell’s score, I’m guessing they may not have given the connection. 

AFTER THREE: Alabama 147.650, LSU 147.250

Both teams had a mostly solid rotation here, but LSU needed more than mostly solid in order to catch Alabama. They don’t have the cushion they expected to have after their vault rotation, so every balance check, step and flexed foot is really making a difference. Alabama had a slightly slow start to their rotation but kicked it up into high gear with the last three routines, with Desch, Doggette and Graber all having fantastic showings. 

The Tigers trail by four tenths going into the final rotation, which isn’t an insurmountable deficit but they will be looking for Alabama to make some errors on beam. 

Rotation 4: LSU floor, Alabama beam

Gaskins (ALA): Candle mount, doesn’t hold that handstand very long. Side aerial, beat jump looked good. Full turn very controlled. Short on that leap. BHS LOSO, some knees but very solid. Switch, split,  straddle leap all good. Gainer full dismount, leans and takes a big step forward. 9.750

Harrold (LSU): Opens with double full, step forward mostly controlled. Great double pike. Switch ring, switch leap beautiful.  Good 1.5 to front lay to finish. Overall very solid routine. 9.850

Klopfer (ALA): Controlled wolf turn immediately up to standing, which I actually don’t hate as much. Front aerial to BHS, good. Cat leap to side aerial, very solid. RO 1.5 dismount, hop forward. 9.800

Gunter (LSU): Double Arabian to open, super high but lands a little short and steps back. Good front full to front lay.  Leap series looked good. Huge double back to finish, lands short again. 9.800

Burgess (ALA): One armed BHS LOSO, big balance check and leg comes up. The entire crowd is singing along to Justin Bieber right now. Seems a little rattled and another big balance check on her leap series. Side aerial to back full dismount. 9.800 

Dean (LSU): This is her first appearance on floor this season. Double pike to start, lack of control on her lunge back but keeps it in bounds. Very bent knees on her 1.5 to front lay. Almost looked like it maybe was supposed to be tucked. Double tuck to finish, flexed feet, lands very low. 9.725

Doggette (LSU): BHS LOSO, very solid. Leap series started good but she puts her hands down so that will count as a fall. Side aerial to back full dismount. 9.475

Alabama is just giving little pieces away here, and LSU is absolutely going to capitalize on it. 

Campbell (LSU): Great 2.5 twist to open, slightly uncontrolled step forward but mostly good. Very nice front 1.5 to front lay. Great position on leaps. Double pike, flexed feet and lands low. 9.825

Blanco (ALA): Front aerial, beautiful. BHS LOSO, HER TOES. Balance check but recovers. Good first leap, second one looked a little shy of 180. Gorgeous L turn.  RO double full dismount, the TINIEST hop. Exactly what they needed there. 9.900

 Johnson (LSU): HUGE full in to open, almost too much power but manages to control the lunge. 1.5 to front lay, beautiful! Great position on leaps. Huge double pike stuck cold. Wow. 9.975

9.825 will win it for Alabama

Graber (ALA): BHS to back pike to beat jump, super solid. Very controlled leap series. She looks in the zone. This is very pretty. Cat leap into front toss, good. Stuck gainer full dismount. 9.875 (TV says 9.875 but stats say 9.900)

Edney (LSU): Double Arabian, takes a big step and goes OOB, great 1.5 to front lay, leaps looked good, solid double back. It won’t be enough to catch Alabama. 

FINAL: Alabama 196.775, LSU 196.425

WOW. This is the first time Alabama has defeated LSU in 11 seasons I think, if I heard correctly? Good for the Crimson Tide. 

LSU won’t be happy with how tonight went, but this is also not at all what they will look like when all of their athletes are healthy. Their lineups look very different with a healthy Kennedi Edney and Sarah Edwards. 

Alabama came close to giving it back to the Tigers on beam, lots of balance checks and little errors adding up that they will most definitely want to work on fine tuning in the weeks to come. Luisa Blanco and Lexi Graber were clutch to end that rotation. 


All around: Kiya Johnson (LSU) 39.600
Vault: Kiya Johnson (LSU) 9.950
Bars: Ruby Harrold (LSU) 9.900
Beam: Luisa Blanco (ALA) 9.900
Floor: Kiya Johnson (LSU) 9.975

Live blog by Kalley Leer

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    1. Hi Robin. We aren’t sure of her status – but since this is the first bars lineup she’s missed so far this season, we’re inclined to believe they are just working out lineups and not a cause for concern at this point.

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