Cam Machado dances on floor

LIVE BLOG: No. 9 Alabama at No. 2 LSU

We have a top-10 matchup to start the SEC’s Friday Night Heights off. This meet is always highly anticipated and never short of entertaining. It will also be the final SEC meet in the PMAC this season. With the postseason quickly approaching, the outcome of this meet will be important for either team when calculating NQS.

After a tough loss to Florida last week, the Tigers will be hungry for a win this week. Despite the loss, the Tigers did bring home a season-high road score of 197.950. With NQS starting this week, the Tigers needed a huge score outside of the PMAC. Some highlights that helped lead the Tigers to this score include Amari Drayton’s 9.975 on vault, Konnor McClain’s beautiful beam routine, and Aleah Finnegan’s 10.0 on floor. The Tigers defeated the Crimson Tide last year in Tuscaloosa. With home-field advantage this year, the Tigers will need to remain steady and consistent on all four events if they want back-to-back victories against the Crimson Tide.

The Crimson Tide is riding into Baton Rouge on a high note after a win over the Georgia Bulldogs. Scoring a season-high 198.075, the Crimson Tide earned their highest score under head coach Ashley Priess Johnston. Alabama is unfortunately coming into this meet missing one of it’s key components as Makarri Doggette went down with an apparent leg injury during last week’s meet. However, names such as Gabby Gladieux, Luisa Blanco, and Shania Adams did a fantastic job of stepping up when needed. It’ll be interesting to see how the Crimson Tide uses their depth to fill Doggette’s spot in the lineups tonight. Can the Crimson Tide keep it together and take the win from the continuously climbing Tigers?

Rotation 1: LSU vault, Alabama bars

Soooo I still hate ESPN…the broadcast never starts on time. I unfortunately missed the first two routines because of this ://

Finnegan (LSU): Beautiful Yurchenko 1.5, small hop forward.

Lacoursiere (Bama): Beautiful Maloney to Pak. Nice handstands. Toe-on Shaposh half, solid. Full-twisting double back, small hop.

Drayton (LSU): Yurchenko 1.5, missed her spot a little and takes a few steps back.

Waligora (Bama): Starts with a huge straddle Jaeger, doesn’t quite get her dowel over the bar and comes off. Looks like she’s going to start the routine over again to try to get credit for her release. Tries to restart and comes off again. Okay here we go! Nice Jaeger. Great Pak and finishes off strong with a nice dismount.

Brock (LSU): So glad to see her in the lineup this week! Nice Yurchenko full, small step.

Adams (Bama): Nice Maloney to Pak, very clean. Little short on pirouettes. Blind full to double back, solid. A great routine to get the Tide back on track.

Johnson (LSU): HUGE Yurchenko double full, takes the smallest of steps to the side.

Blanco (Bama): Pretty Pak. Nice handstands and form throughout. Toe-on to Shaposh half, pretty. Nice aggressive full-twisting double back, small hop.

Bryant (LSU): Fhs front pike half, fights for the stick but hops her feet together. I hope the PMAC judges don’t give her a 10.0 for that but they very well could *sighs*. Well color me shocked…9.950

Machado (Bama): Nice Pak to start. Pretty toe-on to Shaposh half. Blind full to double back, stuck.

After 1: LSU 49.450 Alabama 45.200

Despite Waligora’s uncharacteristic rocky bar routine, the Crimson Tide came back strong on bars. They look on track to post a good score in the PMAC tonight. The Tigers had a great vault rotation…although they only had one vault over 9.900. This meet is looking to be a close one to the finish.

Rotation 2: LSU bars, Alabama vault

Sears (Bama): Nice Yurchenko full, I’d give her the stick.

Jeffrey (LSU): Nice Pak to bail. Great handstands. Full-twisting double back, pulled in a little and was a bit close and off-centered but nice landing.

(Bama): Nice Yurchenko 1.5, small hop.

Cowan (LSU): Nice Ray to bail. Love the quickness of her routine. Double layout, stuck cold.

Bunagan (Bama): Collegiate debut!! Yurchenko 1.5, a little bit of form in the air and steps to the side. A good vault to help get her feet wet!

Johnson (LSU): Nice Maloney to Pak. Nice lines and aggressiveness throughout. Double layout, small rebound hop.

Blanco (Bama): Fantastic Yurchenko 1.5, not quite a stick but the judges might give it to her.

McClain (LSU): Beautiful Church. Nice Pak immediately after. Huge full-twisting double back, studders on landing a little but pretty in the air.

Gladieux (Bama): Nice Yurchenko full, loses her balance a little and steps back.

Tatum (LSU): Nice Tkatchev. Pak was clean. Full-twisting double back, stuck. That was one of the best routines I’ve seen her do wow.

LaCoursiere (Bama): Yurchenko 1.5, a little off-centered and lands out of bounds.

Bryant (LSU): Nice straddle Jaeger. Bail to handstand, pretty. Aggressive throughout. Blind to double front half, stuck cold.

After 2: LSU 99.100 Alabama 98.425

LSU’s bars did not look as clean as it normally does but the Tigers kept up with another solid rotation.

Rotation 3: LSU beam, Alabama floor

Ballard (LSU): Bhs loso, great control. Sissone switch half, nice form and power. Great front toss. Ro double full, fights hard for the stick and personally, takes a step back.

Waligora (Bama): Front layout to front double full, great control and height. Nice leaps and dance. Back 1.5 to front layout, nice landing. Such a great leadoff routine for the Tide.

Jeffrey (LSU): Solid wolf turn. Cat leap to switch side, nice amplitude. Bhs loso, nice control. Standing front tuck, nice and aggressive. Ro 1.5 dismount, stuck.

Burgess (Bama): HUGE ro bhs double pike to open. Another huge double tuck wow. Beautiful leaps and jumps. I love the power and grace she has. Front full to front layout, misses her punch and has to tuck the layout to land.

McClain (LSU): Switch leap switch half, great height and posture. I’m a huge fan of her oversplits! Front aerial to BHS series, a little off balance but stays so so poised. Nice full turn. Side aerial, so pretty to watch. Side gainer full, stuck.

Machado (Bama): Great ro bhs double back, love the height and control. Beautiful wolf turns. Back 1.5 to front layout, nice amplitude and posture. Split leap switch half to split leap switch full (I think), pretty.

Johnson (LSU):  Nice full turn. Bhs loso, love the ease in this series. Switch leap switch leap, nice height in the second leap. Front toss, solid. Ro double full dismount, drills it into the floor.

Hudson (Bama): Front layout to front double, hugeeee height and great control. Love the oversplit she gets in her leaps. Ro bhs double back, takes a huge step back into her lunge and slides her front foot back. This routine is so fun with the dance and Sweet Home Alabama mashup.

Bryant (LSU): Front aerial to bhs, solid as always. Switch leap to straddle quarter, love the height and form. Nice full turn. Standing front tuck, the smallest of wobbles. Rudi dismount, I think she stuck it…unclear from the camera angle.

Blanco (Bama): Front double full to punch front, so glad she made this upgrade! A really great pass for her in my opinion. Fhs front full front layout, so pretty in the air. This was a fantastic routine for her!

Finnegan (LSU): Beautiful bhs loso loso to open. Pretty leaps. Nice full turn. Front aerial, seemed to miss her spot a little and makes a small balance check. Side gainer full, stuck.

Gladieux (Bama): A HUGE full-out to open. She sent that pass to the rafters wow. Great amplitude on her leaps, nice switch leap to switch half. Front layout Rudi to split jump, she gets incredible height in every element of this routine.

After 3: LSU 148.550 Alabama 147.825

That was a fantastic rotation for both teams. I love seeing the progress both teams have made on landings and upgrades as the season goes on! The fight Alabama has given to help close the gap between the Tigers…just wow. The final rotation is sure going to be an exciting one!

Rotation 4: LSU floor, Alabama beam

Hudson (Bama): In the leadoff again! Pretty front aerial to bhs, solid. Switch leap, switch leap, nice amplitude. Switch 1/2, little wobble on the landing. Ro 1.5, stuck.

McClain (LSU): HUGE ro bhs double layout to open. Switch leap switch half, great form and toe point. Amazing save out of her fhs front full front layout to keep it in bounds.

Bhs loso, nice control. Side aerial, solid. Split jump tuck full, I love how easy she makes that look and she gets it all the way around. Ro 1.5, fights hard for the stick but doesn’t quite get it.

Drayton (LSU): HUGE double layout to open, great control on the landing. Front tuck through to double back, STUCK COLD. Switch ring switch half, great extension and amplitude. I love her teammates dancing along side her during the whole routine.

Burgess (Bama): One arm bhs loso to start, perfect. Aggressive side aerial. Pretty switch leap beat jump. Switch side, also perfect. Great front gainer pike, stuck cold. I love how happy and solid she is on beam every time.

KJ Johnson (LSU):  HUGE full in to open, pretty much stuck Back 1.5 to front layout, the smallest of foot shuffles. Switch side to Popa, great extension in her splits. Ro bhs double back, great landing.

Gladieux (Bama): Bhs back pike, really nice. Front aerial beat jump, solid. Pretty switch leap split jump. Double full, stuck cold.

Finnegan (LSU): Double arabian stag jump to open, so clean and pretty. Switch ring tour jete half, I love how she actually hits the ring position. Ro bhs 2.5 twist to front tuck, almost goes out but dances out of it just enough to the side to save it. Another fantastic routine from her!

Adams (Bama): Beautiful wolf turn to start. Super pretty front aerial. Bhs loso, solid. Switch leap split jump, great extension. Bhs 1.5, stuck just like last week.

Bryant (LSU): HUGE fhs double front to open. Switch leap switch full, great amplitude and extension. Front layout Rudi, pretty close to stuck. If I know PMAC judges, they’ll most definitely give her a 10.0. And there you have…10.0

Blanco (Bama): Great front aerial to start. Beautiful bhs loso, just perfection honestly. Switch leap to beat jump, such pretty lines. Gorgeous ro 1.5, lands with the stickiest of sticks.

Ballard (LSU): Oh I love her in the anchor spot actually. Huge ro bhs double layout, stuck. Back 1.5 to front layout, great height and control. Switch ring switch half, just short of perfect extension but great height. Ro bhs double pike, great final pass.

FINAL: LSU 198.325 Alabama 197.325

Well, overscoring in the PMAC prevails. Regardless of the scoring, LSU had a great outing tonight at home. The Tigers look postseason ready as they have just two meets left before SECs. The Tide made one heck of a come back tonight. Although they finished a whole point behind the Tigers, the Tide stayed positive and aggressive on every event. The Tide also look solid as we head into the postseason.

VT: Haleigh Bryant (LSU) 9.950
UB: Haleigh Bryant (LSU) 9.975
BB: Ella Burgess (Bama) 9.950
FX: Haleigh Bryant (LSU) 10.000
AA: Haleigh Bryant (LSU) 39.850

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Live blog by Jessica Brock

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