Tide Gymnastics Takes Step back

The number five ranked Alabama Gymnastics team fell to number 11 LSU, 196.625-195.750 in front of a crowd of 9,663 fans Friday night in Coleman Coliseum.

"Obviously I'm disappointed," Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson said. "I love to win, and that's always the goal. It was difficult tonight. I had to make some on-the-spot decisions in terms of us having some difficulties through the week and even tonight. I feel like the decisions I made tonight didn't necessarily put us in the best position to win, but hopefully they put us in a good position to win down the road."

The meet marked the first time this season Alabama failed to post its highest team total of the season.

"This is the first time we've taken a step back," Patterson said. "We've moved forward each week. Really I think the biggest disappointment from tonight is that we had some people sick and who weren't 100 per cent, and not everybody stepped up and picked up the slack. That's what a team does. That part is disappointing."

Junior Morgan Dennis won the vault, junior Kassi Price won the uneven bars and junior Ricki Lebegern won the balance beam. In the first all-around of her Crimson Tide career, freshman Ashley Priess scored a 39.300 while Lebegern, in her sixth all-around of the season, scored a 39.125.

Alabama got the night off to a solid start with a 49.1 on the vault led by a 9.9 from Dennis and a 9.875 from Lebegern. Freshman Geralen Stack-Eaton scored a 9.825 while Priess made her Crimson Tide debut on the vault, scoring a 9.775. LSU scored a 49.25 on the vault.

The Tide posted a 49.2 on the uneven bars behind a 9.875 from Price, a 9.85 from Lebegern and 9.825s from Stack-Eaton, freshman Rachel Terry and Priess. It was a career-high score for Terry. LSU scored a 49.125 on the uneven bars.

After a solid first half, Alabama struggled through its last two events, posting its lowest scores of the season on the balance beam and floor exercise. The nation's No. 1 ranked balance beam team, Alabama scored below 49.2 for the first time this season, posting a 48.75, nearly a half point below its season average. Lebegern led the Tide with a 9.875 while Priess posted a 9.825. LSU put together a 49.225 on the beam, just off its season high.

For the second week in a row, Dennis stung her ankle during vault warm-ups and wasn't available for duty on the floor exercise where she routinely anchors the Tide's lineup. Without her or Price in the lineup, the Tide posted a 48.7. Priess produced the Tide's high score on the floor, a 9.875. LSU scored a 49.025 on the floor.

After two meets at home, Alabama heads back out on the road next week, taking on the Florida Gators in Gainesville Friday starting at 7 p.m. EST.

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