LIVE BLOG: No. 55 TWU at No. 4 LSU

In what should be an easy win for the home team and a great point opportunity for both, LSU invites DII opponent Texas Women’s University to Baton Rouge this week. The Tigers will likely take this meet on cruise control, probably resting a few of their heavy hitters to ensure they make it to postseason injury-free. We’ll probably see less of Kennedi Edney and Sarah Finnegan and some more of Julianna Cannamela and Erin Macadaeg, who both train all around but rarely make more than one or two lineups. This is the smaller of LSU’s two meets this weekend, so the more head coach D-D Breaux can do to minimize the strain on her top scorers, the better.

On the other hand, the opportunity for TWU to take advantage of some SEC scoring is an important one. The Pioneers were able to score a 195 last week, the only one of the DII/III season, and if they can replicate that, they can drop a 191, shooting their RQS picture likely to the top of DII and ahead of a fair number of DI teams as well. Top performances from Schyler Jones and Mallory Moredock will lead the charge, though star Bria Northrop is currently limited to only bars. How high can TWU climb? This meet will likely be the deciding moment.

3:27pm: Hey everyone! Meet should be starting here in the next few minutes, but before it does, some lineup notes/observations for you!

Looks like Edwards is back in the lineup after resting Friday, which is a good sign. Oddly enough, they’re choosing not to rest Edney on floor today, despite the fact that she’s apparently had some ankle/knee things nagging at her this year.

One eagle-eyed fan at the meet spotted Reagan Campbell warming up floor, essentially confirmed by LSU’s Twitter later on. We’ll see if she ends up in the lineup. Someone else reportedly saw walk-on Olivia Gunter warming up floor as well, which would really turn this into a depth meet. Are you all ready?

3:34pm: Some statistics coming from the commentators while intros are happening: LSU hasn’t scored under 197 since February 2016, and hasn’t lost in the PMAC since even before that.

LSU also wearing its blue and pink swirl leos, supporting victims of breast and prostate cancer.

3:37pm: Macadaeg, VT: FTY, high and clean in the air, little hop back. One of her best collegiate vaults so far!

Brandi Lazarus, UB: Bail, solid. Tkachev, gets no amplitude but didn’t look like she touched the bar. Double pike dismount, little bounce back.

3:38pm: Harrold, VT: Y1.5, stutter step forward but one of her better ones this year! Good for her, getting that back.

Schyler Jones, UB: Giant full straight into the gienger, caught kinda close. Goes straight into the overshoot and couldn’t stay on the bar as she came around, comes off. Yikes. Hops back up, just the dismount left. Giant full into double tuck, stuck landing.

3:41pm: Cannamela, VT: FTY, nice form in the air, little bit piked coming into the landing. Little bounce back.

Morgan Colee, UB: Maloney to bail to toe on, nice combination. Looked like her dismount was supposed to be a DLO but she grabbed onto her legs and piked it as soon as she hit layout position. Interesting. Likely a good score though.

3:43pm: Edwards, VT: Y1.5, similar step forward to Harrold.

Hunter Vincent, UB: almost overarched that first handstand but fought for it. piked Jaeger directly connected to overshoot, wow! DLO dismount, biiiiig bounce back.

3:45pm: Hambrick, VT: Y1.5, overcooks it a little and takes a big step forward. Still, better than the other option for her.

Alyssa Kelly, UB: Bail is lovely. Hitting handstands really nicely here. Gorgeous air on the Tkachev. Slings her full in really far out and takes a big step, but solid.

3:46pm: Edney, VT: her usual huge Y1.5, step forward as well. LSU will want to work on those landings, but everything looks great in the air and everyone’s getting really nice distance and height.

Bria Northrop, UB: A little short on opening handstand. Gienger straight to overshoot, good. DLO dismount, little hop back.

After one, the Tigers lead 49.375 to TWU’s 48.475. Edney leads the vault standings with a 9.9, while TWU’s Colee and Northrop tie for the lead on bars at 9.75.

3:56pm: Erin Alderman, VT: FTY, little piked on the landing and not a lot of distance.

Durante, UB: Jaeger, lovely dynamics. Gorgeous handstands throughout, not a short one in sight. Pak salto is good. Full in, a little crazy in the ankles and a step on the landing.

3:57pm: Colee, VT: FTY, not a lot of air but good distance. Little bounce on the landing.

Hambrick, UB: Gorgeous on the Ray as usual. Bail is good. Good final handstand, stuck dismount!

Megan Gentry, VT: FTY, a little piked on the landing, big bounce back.

4:00pm: Harrold, UB: Zuchold pops right off the top, a little archy but no danger of it going over. Jaeger is gorgeous, little step on the double front dismount.

Mallory Moredock, VT: FTY, more distance here but still piking the landing.

Edney, UB: Huge Hindorff off the top! Bail is dead on, final handstand gorgeous. DLO with a bounce back, tried too hard to stick.

4:03pm: Lazarus, VT: FTY, small hop on the landing but much less piking than her previous teammates.

Priessman, UB: Tkachev into pak, leg sep there but small. Sticks her dismount! A big one for her.

4:05pm: Jones, VT: Yhalf, really nice in the air, little hop forward.

Finnegan, UB: Ray, gorgeous and super high. Bail is dead on, and great last handstand. Lines and toe point beautiful as usual. Sticks her DLO! Gets a 9.95, which means the judges somehow found her 0.025 worse than Lexie? Disagree.

Kirby, UB exo: Nice Tkachev off the top. All handstands a little short, including her bail. DLO very close to the bar with a bounce back. But she stayed on! That’s progress for her.

After two rotations, LSU leads TWU 99.1 to 97.3. LSU definitely on 198 pace once again, but it’ll depend on who all they rest in the next two rotations to see if they can get it.

4:15pm: Macadeag, BB: So pretty. Switch to switch half to beat jump, just lovely and quick. Bhs loso, rock solid. Gainer full, very nice! She would have had a 10 years ago if she weren’t the lead-off. Goodness.

4:16pm: Abigail Versemann, FX: Opening with a double pike, very nice. Maybe a little shy on her second straddle position in her dance elements. Front lay to front full, good control. Only a two pass routine, maybe not a 10.0 SV routine? Hard for me to tell, I don’t remember all the exact requirements you have to add if you only have two passes.

4:18pm: Hambrick, BB: full L turn, perfectly steady. Hitchkick straight to side aerial, nice. Switch to straddle quarter, super quick connection and great positions. Bhs loso, dead on. Roundoff double full to finish, little shuffle back. Gets the stick crown anyway but that won’t fool the judges.

4:20pm: Bridgette Peterson, FX: Rudi to open, good. Short of 180 on her dance element. Front lay to front half, good control there. Whip half to front full, good! Solid for the Pioneers there.

4:22pm: Edney, BB: Front aerial to sissone, good. Bhs loso, super solid. Piked front toss, perfectly in line. Roundoff 1.5 twist, like a dart into the mat! One of her better ones.

Colee, FX: Double pike to open, good power there. Front full to front tuck, looked like she was supposed to do a layout and was just off when she started that connection. Put it to her feet though. Some fun choreo on the floor, did an elbow stand to flip over and flop on the floor, ha. Rudi to finish, nicely done!

4:25pm: Desiderio, BB: Front aerial to sissone, good. Bhs loso, very solid. Switch to switch half to beat, nice! Gainer full to dismount, little bounce. You can see her confidence building, I’m excited to see what she’s capable of in the future.

4:27pm: Alderman, FX: Double pike, looked a little crunchy on the landing. Front full front lay for second pass, solid. Rudi to finish, really bouncy and both feet end up OOB, yikes. Had been such a good routine up to that point.

4:29pm: Campbell, BB: Love that gorgeous press handstand mount. Front aerial, big wobble. Goes for the bhs but she knows she won’t get series for that. Yup, here she goes – back tuck+back tuck, hopefully that’ll give it to her. Switch to switch half, solid. Roundoff double full dismount, little hop forward. Good save!

Moredock, FX: Super high on the double pike to open but comes up a little bit short. Double tuck, much better landing there. 1.5 twist to front lay to close it out, a little archy in the layout but seems to have no problem with the landing. Maybe not quite as high as her 9.9 last week, but a good bounce back from the last routine.

4:33pm: Finnegan, BB: Single wolf, super steady. Bhs loso, absolutely solid. Switch to switch half to beat, LSU really likes that combo this year. Side somi, little wobble. Side aerial to back full, tiny hop back.

4:35pm: Jones, FX: Opens with a double tuck, solid. Double pike for her second, great height there. Little bit of an awkward transition between her dance elements. 1.5 twist to front lay, stuck! Great landing control throughout, nicely done.

That huge beam total puts LSU at 148.575, still on 198 pace, with TWU at a 145.7, which definitely makes it possible for the Pioneers to score a 194, maybe even a 195 if they kill it on beam!

No Campbell or Gunter, but also no Finnegan or Hambrick on floor this afternoon.

4:44pm: Rotation 4! Moment of truth.

Lazarus, BB: Front aerial, lovely. Bhs loso, stumbles back and hops off! Looked like she had saved it. L turn, nice difficulty there. Solid splits in her jumps. Switch side, nice. Gainer full, shuffle back. Not quite the leadoff they would have wanted.

4:46pm: Cannamela, FX: Double pike to open, I actually really like this dramatic choreography on Julianna this year. It kinda suits her. 1.5 twist to front lay, really archy and low on the layout but keeps it on her feet. Good positions on her switch side to Popa. Double tuck, super floaty and easy for her. Nicely done!

4:48pm: Alderman, BB: Switch leap to gainer loso, nice. Side aerial, straight on. Split to straddle 3/4, good. Bhs loso, looks a little unsure but keeps it tight. Gainer full, little bounce back.

4:50pm: Edwards, FX: She’s such a cutie, I love this routine on her. Front double full, nice form in the air. Double tuck, almost seemed to open out of it in the air like she had too much power. Good split positions on her leap series. Front full-front full, super quick and clean in those twists. That’ll be a good score for her.

Alyssa Kelly, BB: Bhs bhs loso, very nice to see that kind of difficulty here! Switch leap to wolf jump 1/1, gets no propulsion in that jump but somehow gets it around. Side aerial, good. Gainer full, looked like a stick! Another good one for TWU.

4:54pm: Kirby, FX: Front lay to Rudi to open, very nice. Double back, looked a little ragged in the legs on the second flip but did her best not to cowboy. Front lay front full to finish, great control. She’s looking better and better every week on this event!

4:55pm: H Vincent, BB: Bhs loso, different form than you usually see but she’s straight on. Switch side, nice. Beat to… straddle full-ish? 3/4? Indistinct landing and short on straddle position. Roundoff double full, comes up short and crashed to her knees on the mat. TWU having to count a fall now.

4:57pm: Harrold, FX: Front double full to open, crossover step but keeps it in bounds. Goes back for the double back, good control on the landing. 1.5 twist to front lay, nice! Great to see her come back and hit floor after having problems her last time out.

4:59pm: Moredock, BB: Bhs loso, nice and steady. Switch to switch side, very quick connection, maybe a little shy on the straddle on the switch side. Roundoff double full, sticks her dismount! The best we’ve seen yet from TWU!

5:00pm: Edney, FX: Double arabian to open, really close to the line with her step but keeps it in. 1.5 twist to front lay, much easier than most people we’ve seen with that combination. Switch ring to tour jete half, good positions in the air. Double tuck to close, stuck cold! Very nice.

5:02pm: Jones, BB: Roundoff to layout, that’s a cool series! Switch leap to tuck jump 1/1, good. Front toss to beat jump, very quick and clean. Roundoff 1.5 twist, very nice! I believe if she scores a 9.65, the Pioneers will still break 194 counting that fall from Vincent.

5:04pm: Priessman, FX: Gorgeous open position on her full in! Love to see her full difficulty coming out. Splits are solid in dance elements. 1.5 twist to front lay, really gets the rise in that second element there. Double pike to close, stuck! Probably the best collegiate floor I’ve seen from Lexie.

LSU goes big again with a final score of 198.175! That’s a season high – in their depth meet! Yes, there’s definitely some home scoring there to be considered, but to see Cannamela, Macadaeg, Kirby and Priessman all come out in events they don’t normally excel on and hit routine after routine will be very encouraging for the Tigers. Having Harrold’s confidence back on all her events is also a big key the team will take away from today, so watch for her to return more regularly to lineups.

And TWU does, in fact, break 194, with a 194.2 final score. It’s not the season high they might have wanted, but there were some really solid performances there. Jones and Moredock were the heavy hitters as expected, but they also had Alyssa Kelly go 9.825 on beam, as well as Bria Northrop and Morgan Colee leading the team on bars with 9.75s.

Kennedi Edney wins vault with a 9.9, Lexie Priessman bars with a 9.975. Erin Macadaeg, Christina Desiderio and Myia Hambrick all went 9.9 to tie for the beam title, and Edney and Priessman tied at 9.95 for the floor win. And Edney put up a huge AA score for the win, a 39.625.

Thanks for tuning in! Utah @ UCLA is at 8 P.M. ET tonight, and Rebecca will be coming to you live from Pauley Pavilion – see you all there!

Live blog by Caroline Medley

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