LIVE BLOG: No. 17 Georgia at No. 9 LSU

Georgia is still far removed from its glory days, but there’s no denying this team is looking stronger and deeper than it has in years. Conversely, this season has thrown just about every obstacle imaginable at LSU and itsdepth is already at a premium. The Tigers are looking for redemption after a difficult loss at Arkansas (though they’ll gladly take that 197.200 away score come NQS time) and would love nothing better than a decisive victory at the PMAC against head coach Jay Clark’s former team.

Rankings aside, both of these teams are 1-2 in conference and 1-4 overall. LSU has the higher scoring ceiling, but the GymDogs are on a hot streak and show no signs of letting up now. LSU will need to press its advantage on vault if it hopes to put the win out of Georgia’s reach, and even then, it’ll need hits on both beam and floor. In other words, the outcome of this meet is far from a foregone conclusion. 

You can watch along at home here and find live scoring here.

Broadcast still hasn’t started because Auburn @ Alabama is running long… Hopefully, soon?

Rotation One: LSU vault, Georgia bars

Arenas (LSU): 9.775

Cashman (UGA): 9.750

Shchennikova (LSU): 9.750

Angeny (UGA): 9.800

Finnegan (LSU): 9.900

Howard (UGA): 9.800

Brock (LSU): Really strong Y 1.5! Good height and distance, clean in the air, and a legitimate stick. 9.950

Scott (UGA): Good LB handstand. Negligible leg sep on her Maloney to Pak. Very late on her LB half pirouette, and short final handstand. Pristine DLO, stuck. 9.850

Johnson (LSU): Her usual massive, floaty Y full flared out at the end. Small hop back on the landing. 9.875

Finnegan (UGA): Pretty Ray, good arm extension on the regrasp. Pak, half pirouette, all good. High FTDT that was more or less stuck. 9.875

Bryant (LSU): Welp, that was pretty darn good. Fhs pike half, hung in the air and stuck down. Her chest was pretty low on the landing, but that was gorgeous. 9.975

De Jong (UGA): Toe land, good. Nice tension in her bail. Strong handstand positions throughout. Good position on her DLO and another stick! 9.900

AFTER ONE ROTATION: LSU 49.475, Georgia 49.225

A rough start for the Tigers, but the back half of that vault rotation was about as good as it gets. So glad to see Brock finding her landings and confidence; she’s quickly become a standout in a lineup full of excellent vaulters.

Missed the first half of the GymDogs’ lineup, but that was a very strong rotation. There were a few tenths to take here and there, but really couldn’t have asked for better dismounts to close out.

Rotation Two: Georgia vault, LSU bars

De Jong (UGA): Y full, twisted early off the table and piked down. Good height and distance, and a solid landing. 9.850 is pretty high for that.

Jeffrey (LSU): Good Maloney/Pak combo. A bit late on her LB half pirouette. Sky high FTDT landed deep, but a stick. 9.900

Finnegan (UGA): Powerful Y full, bigger than De Jong’s. Moderate hop back on the landing.

Arenas (LSU): Nice aggressive handstand. BIG Tkatchev but kind of peels off going into her Pak, scorpions both feet, and lands in a full-on front support on the LB; Yikes, glad she’s OK. Good DLO, almost stuck. 8.950

King (UGA): Big block on her Y full but goes kind of wonky in the air. Big hop back… Oh geez, she’s hurt. Trainers are helping her off and assessing. Hope she’s OK. 9.700

Tatum (LSU): Nice height on her Ray, just some foot form. A little close on her Pak. Swims a bit after her squat on. High FTDT with some leg sep in the end, but a well-controlled landing. 9.775

Cashman (UGA): Y full with hips slightly closed, but pretty much stuck! Great bounce back for Georgia. 9.800

Finnegan (LSU): Piked Deltchev a hair close on the catch, but so pretty in the air. Lost some tension on her bail to handstand. Tight tucked double Arabian with a decent-sized step back. 9.850

Howard (UGA): HUGE Y full with a small hop back. Angle was terrible and the commentary has dropped out, so I can’t say much more than that! 9.775

Shchennikova (LSU): Big Ray with flexed feet. Excellent Pak. Her usual DLO that never actually approaches laid out, but an honest to goodness stick. 9.875

Hawthorne (UGA): Opts for just a Y full today, but it was a beauty in the air. Landing was weird, kind of shifted her weight quickly and looked startled. 9.850

Bryant (LSU): Strong first handstand. Nice, slow blind change to straddled Jaeger caught very close (full-on arm bend). Another strong final handstand. Blind change to tucked Ariabian half out with a little foot shuffle. 9.900 is high just for the Jaeger.

AFTER TWO ROTATIONS: LSU 98.775, Georgia 98.300

Hats off to Georgia for salvaging a 49-plus score after King’s injury. They powered through and didn’t dig a hole, which is about as much as you could ask from this lineup.

LSU not only survived bars, but posted one of its better scores of the season and extended its lead of Georgia by a couple of tenths. Jeffrey is looking comfortable in her lead-off role and Bryant is the clear choice to anchor, but the rest of the lineup remains a bit of a wildcard.

Rotation Three: LSU beam, Georgia floor

Rivers (LSU): Bhs loso with soft legs and a little hit waver. Aggressive full turn, nice. Switch half is way off and she nearly comes off, but saves it. Switch leap and switch side were lovely. RO double full with legs crossed and has to take a step forward. 9.625

Williams (UGA): Solid opening pike, but she salutes herself into some extra wobbles. Switch side to Popa were gorgeous. Fhs front full to front lay, didn’t get a ton of bounce out of the full and had to crunch the lay somewhat. Double tuck a little wild in the air and takes a significant foot slide back. Overall, a strong routine and outstanding performance quality! 9.825

Shchennikova (LSU): Well-controlled candle mount. Front aerial to bhs bhs a touch wobbly; a little slow on the connection, too, but I don’t think they’ll dock her. Switch leap to Sissone, good. Side aerial, nicely done. Bhs side gainer full with the sliiightest pikedown, but a definitive stick. 9.850

Elsadek (UGA): Looks like she’s in for King. Big FTDT, lacking control on the landing though. Switch leap to switch ring to wolf full, correct positions and high amplitude on all three. Nice front aerial. Front tuck through to double tuck landed extremely deep and takes a big step back. 9.800 is pretty high for me.

Brooks (LSU): Bhs loso with soft knees, but very steady. Sissone to switch half; connection was pretty slow, but good position on both. Excellent front toss. RO 1.5 pretty flat in the air and needs a step forward. 9.825

Howard (UGA): Easy front tuck through to double tuck with chest down but a secure landing. Switch half to wolf fulls looked good in the air to me, though couldn’t see her feet on the landing. Fabulous double pike to close. 9.875 is the right score, and I wish there was more separation from the other routines.

Arenas (LSU): Switch leap to split looked a little jittery. Bhs loso with soft elbows and legs, but steady. Gorgeous front toss. Full turn kicked out, pretty. Very shy back leg on her switch half (may not get credited). RO back 1.5 was under and she had to take a little stumble back. 9.775 is high for me.

Cashman (UGA): Nice, floaty back 1.5 to front full. Great rise on the former. Love the oversplit on her switch side series. Tidy double tuck with a perfectly-controlled landing to finish. Awesome routine. 9.875 next to Howard’s is too low.

Bryant (LSU): Pristine front aerial to bhs. So extended throughout. Switch leap to switch side, excellent. Standing front tuck, nailed it. Split jump, great. Punch Rudi dismount with a minor hop back. 9.900

De Jong (UGA): Punch Rudi to loso, nicely done. Good height on her switch side to wolf full. YIKES, missed the take-off into her triple twist and did some ridiculous mid-air adjustments to land safely, albeit short with a hop forward. In the replay, looks like she clipped the mat. 9.850

Finnegan (LSU): Lovely bhs loso loso. Couldn’t ask for much better form on those. Switch leap to split jump, perfect positions. Full turn, no issues. Front aerial with a moderate hip check. Side gainer half, stuck. 9.900

Hawthorne (UGA): She’s such a delightful performer. OH! Hello, DLO! Great height and body position, a little slide on the landing. Switch full series, very well done. Floaty front lay to Rudi to split jump, solid; she doesn’t always control the trajectory of that jump, but this was a beauty. 9.950

AFTER THREE ROTATIONS: LSU 148.025, Georgia 147.675

We’re at the point of the meet where the judges are getting fatigued and the scores get a little suspect. However, those were strong rotations from both teams, with Georgia narrowing the gap by over a tenth. Hawthorne’s floor and Bryant’s beam were the highlights for me, though there was a lot to like from both lineups.

Rotation Four: Georgia beam, LSU floor 

Howard (UGA): Steady full turn. Bhs loso with a moderate hip check. Beat jump to switch half, good heigh and position. Side aerial with a bit of a shoulder drop. Bhs to side gainer full. A little nervy, but a solid lead-off routine from the freshman. 9.850 is very generous, but not out of line with scores from the last rotation.

Ballard (LSU): Big, floaty DLO with a tiny front foot slide back. Back 1.5 to front lay, nice rise on both. Switch ring to switch half, good height and positions. Double pike with a pretty significant hop back into her lunge. Strong routine to kickstart the Tigers. 9.875

Moran (UGA): Double wolf turn, good. Switch leap to beat, love the chin up throughout the series. Side aerial bhs, rock solid and so extended. Front aerial, lovely. RO back 1.5, stuck. Fantastic routine! 9.875… OK, judges. I’m fine with that score in a bubble, but not next to all the other 9.875s the beam judges have handed out tonight.

Shchennikova (LSU): Doesn’t quite get her front double twist all the way around and covers by dancing out of it. Back 1.5 to floooaty front lay. Switch ring to switch half, nice height. Fhs Rudi to split jump, way out of control. Almost travels OOB. 9.925 is mathematically impossible.

Angeny (UGA): Bhs loso, slight softness in the knees and feet. Front aerial to beat, good. Full turn with a right shoulder drop and arm wave. Switch leap to switch side. Bhs 1.5 with some form, but nearly stuck. 9.800

Brock (UGA): Massive double pike with a front foot slide to open. Strong double tuck, lands up on her toes and has to hop. Gorgeous oversplit and high amplitude on her switch side series. Back 1.5 to front full, slips and lands on the floor. Ugh, too bad. 9.050

Scott (UGA): Scorpion kick, very cool. Front handspring to bhs loso with a little hip waver. Split leap to switch side to Korbut, so smooth. Full turn just goes to hell and she comes off. So weird… I’m going to blame Bridget for jinxing her. Fhs to front full a hair underrotated and takes a step back. 9.275

Johnson (LSU): Big, fabulous open FTDT with a front foot slide back. Back 1.5 to front lay, no problems. Handstand with a scorpion kick. Switch side to Popa, great positions and amplitude on both. Big double tuck to close with another front foot slide. Awesome routine! 9.950

Deniz (UGA): Pretty tick-tock to open. Kicked out full turn with a hint of a check. Side aerial to bhs with some foot form. Front aerial with a significant waist bend; again, blaming Bridget. Switch leap to split jump, back leg maybe low on the latter? Didn’t have a great view. Gainer tucked full, stuck. Am i crazy or did it seem like someone took a flash photo towards the end? 9.675

Finnegan (LSU): Tight tucked double Arabian, little hesitation between the landing and her stag jump, but guessing they’ll credit it. Back 2.5 to front punch, dances out of it in an obviously controlled manner. Switch ring to switch full looked good in the air, but couldn’t see her feet on the landing. Back 1.5 to front lay, gorgeous. Fantastic! 10.000

De Jong (UGA): Lovely full turn. Crowd explodes from Finnegan’s 10, but De Jong’s unfazed. Switch leap to straddle half, gorgeous. Front aerial to beat with a bit of an arm wave in between. Bhs loso with a bit of a front foot adjustment. Bhs 1.5 with a small hop forward. Excellent routine. 9.850 in context is an actual joke.

Bryant (LSU): Fhs to double front tuck with a little stutter step out. Front lay to a floaty Rudi, well done. Handstand stepout to loso, great. Switch ring to switch half; front leg looked a little low front my angle. Fhs front double full, a little deep on the landing and kind of staggers out but I’m sure the judges won’t care! 9.925

FINAL: LSU 197.700, Georgia 196.825

VT: Bryant, 9.975
UB: De Jong, Jeffrey, and Bryant, 9.900
BB: Bryant, Finnegan, and Angeny, 9.900 (Apparently Angeny’s score was changed after the fact?)
FX: Finnegan, 10.000
AA: Bryant 39.700

READ THIS NEXT: It Takes a Village—and a Lot of Heart—to Put on a Meet in the PMAC

Live blog by Claire Billman

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