LIVE BLOG: No. 2 LSU at No. 6 Alabama

Despite impressive performances in Week 6 resulting in season highs for both programs, both LSU and Alabama will be looking for some redemption this weekend after tough losses to conference rivals Florida and Georgia. 

Scoring controversies aside, LSU has the edge: The Tigers have gone 197-plus in their last five meets, and held their own against the Gators with their best performances of the season. They’ll undoubtedly want to prove that meet was no fluke and affirm their current spot in the Four on the Floor conversation.  

Alabama’s quiet consistency has helped the team steadily climb the top 10 rankings this season. Last week’s gamble to unveil a lineup’s worth of 10.0 SV vaults didn’t quite pay off; it’ll be interesting to see whether or not the Crimson Tide decide to play it safe or continue to push for those bigger numbers. 

All things equal, this should be a very close and exciting meet.  

Bless LSU’s roster tweets

Rotation 1: Alabama vault, LSU bars

Olsen (Bama): Yurchenko double twist. Slightly crunched down and a hop back, but one of her best of the season. 9.850

Johnson (LSU): Pretty Maloney. Didn’t quite hit the handstand on bail, but perfect final handstand and a stuck DLO. 9.875

Waligora (Bama): Y 1.5 with good distance, but a deep landing and crossover step forward. 9.850

Dean (LSU): Big Ray, a little bent arms. Loose on bail and an aggressive final handstand. Legs apart and bent knees on DLO, but basically stuck. 9.800

Blanco (Bama): GORGEOUS Y 1.5, comes up on her toes on the landing but doesn’t move. 9.925

Dunne (LSU): Nice high Ray. Pak, very well done. DLO with a pike down, but stuck. 9.850

Graber (Bama): Y 1.5 was phenomenal in the air, but landed straight-legged and did some stutter steps. 9.875

Bryant (LSU): Blind half to lovely straddled Jaeger. Beautiful bail to handstand. Blind half to double front with a step to the side. Best routine so far. 9.875

Quinn (Bama): Fantastic Y 1.5; deep landing, but a definitive stick. 9.950 is accurate

Shchennikova (LSU): Shy first handstand to a big Ray. Good legs on Pak. A little loose on her pirouette. Usual whippy-pikey DLO with a college stick. 9.900

Adams (Bama): Underrotates her Y 1.5 and sits it. 9.350

Durante (LSU): Fantastic first handstand. High straddled Jaeger. A little leg sep on her Pak, but a great pirouette. High (and close) FTDT stuck. 9.875 seems low in comparison to Shchennikova’s.

AFTER ONE ROTATION: Alabama 49.450, LSU 49.375

Great start for both teams! Glad to see the Crimson Tide go for the six 10.0 SVs; hoping Lexi Graber is OK, because that landing looked painful. 

I really like how aggressive LSU is on bars, even if I’m not convinced by the ranking of those routines. 

Rotation 2: Alabama bars, LSU vault

Durante (LSU): Excellent Y full, slightest pike down and more or less stuck. 9.850

Waligora (Bama): Blind half to straddled Jaeger, well done. A hair shy on her final handstand. Gorgeous FTDL with a bouncy step forward. 9.800

Shchennikova (LSU): Y1.5 landed in a deep squat with a large step back. 9.775

Graber (Bama): Gienger with a little leg sep. Rushes through the bail. FTDT with a form break, but stuck cold (if staggered). 9.850

Arenas (LSU): Massive Y full with a hop back. 9.825

Machado (Bama): Lovely Maloney, some leg sep on the Pak but right into the toe on. Nice Van Leeuwen. Sorry, I msised the dismount. 9.850

Edwards (LSU): Huge height on her Y 1.5 with a hop on the landing. 9.900

Adams (Bama): Beautiful Maloney to Pak. Nothing to take. Van Leeuwen just gorgeous. Full pirouette into double back with a step back. The step was really the only thing to take. 9.875

Johnson (LSU): Y double full slightly underrotated, landed crunched and had to top to the side. 9.850

Blanco (Bama): Maleony to Pak, lovely. Went a little over on her handstand pirouette. Gorgeous FTDT, stuck. 9.950

Bryant (LSU): Good lord, ridiculously high FHS pike half. Bounce back, but wow. 9.900

Doggette (Bama): Huge Tkatchev to Pak, maybe a little close. Couldn’t make the handstand into her pirouette and had to repeat  the combo. Shy on the final handstand, but a strong stuck DLO to finish. 9.800

AFTER TWO ROTATIONS: Alabama 98.775, LSU 98.700

OK, this is every bit as close and exciting as I was hoping it’d be!

Strong vault rotation from LSU. Even with the hop on the landing, Bryant was the clear standout (to exactly no one’s surprise). Excellent bars from Bama, though I would have gone higher for Adams. 

Rotation 3: Alabama beam, LSU floor

Bart surprised Luisa Blanco with Nadia crashing their interview. Nadia gave her so many compliments and Blanco was literally fanning herself and holding back tears. Love it!

Klopfer (Bama): Wolf turn, great. Front aerial to bhs, well done. Very nice position on her straddle half. Cat leap to side aerial, good. RO 1.5, stuck. Fantastic lead-off. 9.900

Dean (LSU): Double pike with a large bounce back to open. Back 1.5 with soft legs to front full, a little stutter step on the later. Split series didn’t quite look 180 to me, but the angle wasn’t great. High double tuck with a crunched landing and low chest. 9.825 is high. 

Waligora (Bama): Pretty full turn. Bhs loso, a little hung up in the air. Side aerial with the slightest hip check. Split jump to tuck jump full , cheated the landing a bit. RO 1.5 with a freshman step back. 9.850

Arenas (LSU): Doesn’t quite get the front double twist all the way around, a little form in the air. Front lay to front full, lovely. Switch half to wolf full, well done. Lands her double pike on her heels and slides it back. 9.825 is again high

Adams (Bama): Split leap and balks on the connection to front aerial. Lovely bhs loso, Double wolf, which she makes look pretty. #ShaniaAdamsThings. Switch split to switch split, great. Bhs 1.5 a little flat and has to take small step back. 9.875

Shchennikova (LSU): FHS double twist with a big bound out of it. RO 1.5 to front full, another bounce forward on the landing. Really nice oversplit on her switch ring and switch half. Fhs Rudi to split jump, travelled waaay back. 9.750

Graber (Bama): Very deliberate full turn. Bhs pike, rock solid. Switch split to straddle 3/4 with a big lean back, but stays on. Cat leap to front toss to scale, nice. Gainer full, stuck. 9.775

Ballard (LSU): Big DLO to open, slight pike down but a ton of power. RO 1.5 to front lay; missed the punch an had to basically cowboy it. Leap series looked a little shy. Short double pike and has to take a large step forward. 9.725

Doggette (Bama): Bhs loso with a finessed arm wave and hip check. Beat to switch half, good. Side aerial to a full; pikes down a bit and has to take a small step. 9.800

Edwards (LSU): Fhs to front double full with a bound forward. Fhs full to full, lovely. Switch side to Popa, nice position. RO double tuck, great. Best floor routine so far. 9.900 

Blanco (Bama): Gorgeous low beam work as always. Bhs loso loso with a finessed slide back. Needle scale, lovely. Switch split to beat, beautiful. RO double full with a huge rise in the air, stuckish. Excellent routine. 9.975… Intellectually, I know that’s too high, but it was such a beautiful routine and so technically precise that I don’t really care!

Bryant (Bama): Fhs double front with a well-covered stutter step forward. Front lay to Rudi, perfrect. Switch half to Popa, didn’t quite hit the straddle but still pretty. Front double twist, flawless. 9.950. Like Blanco’s score, it’s too high, BUT SO WHAT?! Redemption! Gorgeous tumbling!  

AFTER THREE ROTATIONS: Alabama 148.175, LSU 147.950

So, scoring got pretty generous for both teams on this rotation, but the routine and meet rankings don’t seem to be affected, so we’ll just move on.

Rotation 4: Alabama floor, LSU beam

Desiderio (LSU): Floaty (which you don’t always get to say about a leap) switch leap to switch half . Bhs loso, excellent. Pretty full turn. She’s so nice to watch on beam. Front aerial with a leg up, but she covers it well. Cat leap to stuck gainer full. 9.875

Gaskins (Bama): Nice double pike to open, a little bounce on the landing. Switch ring to switch half, good amplitude. Front tuck through to double tuck with a low chest, but no movement. 9.850

Durante (LSU): Kick out of her full turn. Bhs loso, nice. Front aerial to split, a little hesitation. Switch leap to quarter half with a check. Cat leap to full and goes off the mat. Yikes! Took off completely sideways. No injury though. 9.625

Mitchell (Bama): Big ol’ double pike with a large bounce back. Switch full to wolf full to wolf 1.5, good amplitude but some form. Punch front through to double tuck, well done. She’s stoked. 9.875

Bryant (LSU): Front aerial to bhs, Switch split to straddle half with a tiny lean. Punch front with another microcheck. Another small check on her full turn. Punch Rudi dismount, some leg form but stuck. Lots of tiny, almost imperceptible checks to take. 9.875

Olsen (Bama): Silivas to open, a little crunched and staggered on the landing but always fun to see that skill! Leap series was fine. Front 1.5 to double twist, nice. Strong double pike to close. 9.850

Dean (LSU): Slight wave on her full turn. Side aerial to bhs with soft legs and a small hip check. Switch leap to split jump, very nice. Front aerial to beat, good. Side aerial to full with some knees, but a stick. 9.875

Doggette (Bama): HUGE double tuck with a slide back. Fhs full to front lay, a little flat. Her choreo is really fun. Switch split to split full series, good. Pike double back to her toes and hops forward. 9.875

Johnson (LSU): Bhs loso with a significant balance check. Switch split to switch half with the smallest hesitation but great amplitude. Great front toss. RO double twist almost stuck, beautiful. 9.875… The fourth, FOURTH of this rotation. Excuse me while I chug my glass of wine. 

Graber (Bama): Basically perfect FTDT to open. Popa and wolf full, great height. Punch front through to double pike, excellent. Fabulous routine. 9.975

Shchennikova (LSU): Slipped on her mount but stays on. Bhs loso with soft leg but no wobbles. Onodi. Split leap to split jump, good. Front aerial with a check. Full turn kicked out, another check. Gainer full, landed staggered but a stick. If she gets a 9.875, I swear… GUESS WHAT IT IS?! A 9.875

Blanco (Bama): Looks like Bama has already secured the win, so we just get to enjoy this! Big double pike with a slide back to open. Switch ring to Popa to switch full, great. Beautiful double tuck. Sorry, I was too busy screaming about LSU’s fifth 9.875 of the rotation and I whiffed on her final pass. 9.975

AFTER FOUR ROTATIONS: Alabama 197.725, LSU 197.325

How? How do you give five routines of varying quality THE SAME FREAKING SCORE?! Yes, LSU may have averaged 9.875 on beam, but some of those should have been higher and some should have been lower. You can’t just default to 9.875, judges… 

Alabama was nothing short of fabulous on floor. A well-earned victory for the Crimson Tide. Also, peep Miss Luisa Blanco earning a 39.825 in the all-around! It’s not at all surprising that Nadia’s pep talks are magic. 

Live Blog by Claire Billman 

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