Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Information
By: Brandon Berrio
ATHENS, Ga. – The sixth-ranked LSU gymnastics team improved to 2-0 in 2022 and secured its 16th-straight win over the Georgia Bulldogs in a 196.850-196.100 win on Friday night in Stegeman Coliseum.
The win marked the Tigers’ third straight over the Bulldogs in Athens. LSU earned its first league win of the year.
“I think we knocked off some rust tonight,” head coach Jay Clark. “Given that we haven’t competed in three weeks and it was the first road meet I was happy that we grinded it out and got the win. We missed some opportunities, but overall I was proud of this team because they never gave up the fight.
“Alyona (Shchennikova) responded tonight and got a 9.90 on floor when we needed it the most. That is some real growth. I also cannot say enough about Christina (Desiderio) and what she did on beam to start in that last rotation. She has a way to settle the team and she did it again tonight.”
LSU opened the meet on fire with three of the first four performers earning a 9.90 to secure wins on the night. Kiya Johnson opened with a 9.90 and Kai Rivers followed by matching her score. Olivia Dunne earned a 9.825 in the third spot and Haleigh Bryant followed with a 9.90. In the sixth spot, Sami Durante scored a 9.825 to give LSU a 49.350 and narrow lead after UGA’s opening 49.325 on vault.
The Tigers struggled to find their landings on vault and finished with a 49.150 to once again lead the Bulldogs by .050. Rivers and KJ Johnson opened with a 9.85 on their Yurchenko Full. Sarah Edwards scored a 9.725 in the fourth spot of the lineup. Kiya Johnson and Bryant wrapped up the rotation with a 9.875 and 9.85 respectively.
LSU scored a 49.100 on floor and mishaps by Georgia on beam allowed LSU to take a 147.600-147.025 lead going into the final rotation. Desiderio opened with a 9.70. Dunne sored a 9.80 in her first collegiate routine on floor and Edwards added a 9.825. In the final two spots, KJ Johnson earned a 9.875 and Shchennikova anchored with a crucial 9.90.
In the final rotation of the night, LSU scored a 49.250 with six hit routines to clinch the win. Desiderio opened beam with a 9.90 and in her first collegiate routine Aleah Finnegan scored a 9.875. Durante followed with a 9.775 in the third spot. Bridget Dean and Kiya Johnson closed out the night with scores of 9.80 and 9.90.
Shchennikova also earned the all-around victory, her second in as many meets.
LSU returns to the PMAC to face Auburn on Saturday, February 5. First vault is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the meet will be televised on the SEC Network.
Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA: Friday night's gymnastics meet between #5 LSU and #11 Arkansas has been postponed due to COVID protocols within the Razorbacks program. This will be the second weekend in a row that the LSU gymnastics squad will have a meet postponed due to COVID concerns.
The SEC will look into possibly rescheduling the meet at a later date
Next up LSU will travel to Athens, Ga. on Friday, Jan. 28th to take on the Georgia Bulldogs at 6:00pm
Da Boot Sports
LSU Sports Information
By: LSU Staff
BIRMINGHAM – The LSU at Missouri gymnastics meet scheduled for Friday, January 14 has been postponed due to COVID protocols within the LSU gymnastics program, consistent with Southeastern Conference COVID-19 management requirements.
The opportunity to reschedule the meet will be evaluated.
Da Boot Sports
By: Brittney Achord
BATON ROUGE, LA: The LSU Tiger gymnastics team brought more than new faces, routines, and skills to their season opener Friday night in the PMAC. They brought victory and their 10th straight season opener win with a 196.950.
As Tiger fans welcomed the new Assistant Coaches Garrett and Courtney Griffeth, they also welcomed a powerhouse freshman. KJ Johnson highlighted her night taking 2nd on Vault and 1st on Floor with matching scores of 9.90. A great start for this new Tiger.
In a post meet interview, Head Coach Jay Clark stated, “KJ is as explosive an athlete as we have. I think tonight did a lot for her confidence. She really came through in the clutch and delivered the only 9.90 we had on Floor tonight. She was nervous going out there, so it was great to see her go out there and do what she did.”
The Tigers started out strong on Vault opening up with a team score of 49.40. Sophomore Haliegh Bryant picked up right where she left off with a dynamic 9.925 that earned her 1st place on Vault. KJ Johnson also helped the Tigers with her 9.90, along with Kai Rivers and Kiya Johnson’s matching scores of 9.875 and Aloyna Shchennikova’s score of 9.825.
Over on Bars, the Tigers kicked off the season with the highest season opening score in school history, a 49.50. Aloyna Shchennikova brought a beautiful 9.950, matching her career high and landing her first place on bars. Haleigh Bryant and Olivia Dunne would also score big for the Tigers with matching scores of 9.925. This would be a new career high for Bryant. The Tigers would also count Kai Rivers 9.875 and Kiya Johnson’s 9.825.
Unfortunately, after an injury on bars, the Tigers lost their momentum on Balance Beam scoring a 49.075. Christina Desiderio opened up with an elegant routine scoring a 9.850 for the Tigers. Alyona Shchennikova and Kiya Johnson followed with matching scores of 9.80.Reagan Campbell would put up a fighting 9.750 for the Tigers. Haleigh Bryant would finish strong for the Tigers with a 9.875, sparking a hint of hope heading to Floor.
Opening night jitters seemed to follow the Tigers to Floor as the Tigers posted a 48.975. Sarah Edwards brought joy and excitement to Tiger fans as she opened with a 9.825. KJ Johnson amped up the PMAC with an explosive 9.90. The Tigers would finish the night on Floor with a 9.775 from Elena Arenas, 9.750 from Sierra Ballard, and a 9.725 from Alyona Shchennikova. Shchennikova’s 9.725 clinched the all-around for her with a 39.30 and a victory for the Tigers.
Overall the Tigers looked great. There were many areas where nerves played a huge role, some areas where injuries took over, and a few issues just from inexperience. They will work through all the early season jitters and dominate all four events.
After the meet Head Coach Jay Clark stated, “We started out really great and had some good things going for us, but after Sami Durante went out, it broke the momentum for us. Nothing horrible went on the last two events but I thought the mentality dropped and we never got going again. I am pleased with a lot of good moments though.”
The Tigers head to Missouri for their first SEC road meet on Friday, January 14 at 7 PM CT. You can catch this match up on SEC Network+ through Watch ESPN.com and the app.
Photos By: Brittney Achord