Jan. 9, 2009
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The No. 10 University of Oklahoma women's gymnastics squad dropped a season-opening dual meet to the third-ranked Florida Gators by a score of 196.500-195.075 in front of a Stephen O'Connell Center crowd of 4,856 in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday night.
It was the first regular season defeat for the Sooners since falling to Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., on March 9, 2007. Entering tonight's meet, OU had won 31 of its last 32 regular-season matchups.
"I thought we came out a little flat overall," said head coach K.J. Kindler. "In front of a great Florida crowd, I was very proud of some of our newcomers including our bars lineup which included three girls making their career debuts and all hit. We had some uncharacteristic falls from some of our veterans including Hollie Vise and Jackie Flanery, but I'm sure we can learn from this experience and improve as the season progresses."
"We also had a couple of late fill-in's including Sara Stone on floor for Haley (DeProspero), who I thought performed well considering the last-second switch. Also, Jessica Kinder went four-for-four in her first all-around performance and must be commended."
As a whole, Oklahoma couldn't match its regular-season success against squads from the Southeastern Conference from a year ago, when the Sooners posted season highs in wins against both SEC squad's they faced before the postseason (196.75 against Auburn - March 7 and Arkansas - March 15).
OU senior Ashley Jackson finished third in the all-around (39.125), behind Florida All-American's Melanie Sinclair (39.425) and Corey Hartung (39.375).
Other Sooner bright spots included runner-up finishes on three of the four events - (Jackson - 9.825 on vault, Megan Ferguson - 9.85 on bars and Haley DeProspero - 9.875 on beam).
The Sooners opened the meet with a score of 48.725 on bars, led by Ferguson's second-place-tying 9.85 in her first collegiate routine. DeProspero scored a 9.7 from the leadoff position, before Kinder posted a 9.725 in her first collegiate bars appearance. Sophomore Melanie Root (9.625) was the third Oklahoma gymnast making her first start on bars, as Vise (9.75) and Jackson (9.7) closed the event for the Sooners.
OU trailed 49.125-48.725 after the first event as the Gators posted five scores of 9.8 or greater on vault - led by Sinclair's 9.875.
Kinder posted a 9.725 on vault to start the Sooners' second rotation. Flanery followed with a 9.775, before Mary Mantle matched Kinder's 9.725. Root stuck a 9.8 as Jackson tied for second with a 9.825. OU was anchored by Stone, who posted a 9.8 in her first collegiate routine.
Oklahoma posted a vault score of 48.925 as Florida (48.950) escaped counting a fall on bars after UF's Alicia Goodwin's fall in the Gators' opening routine. Sinclair won her second straight event with a bars score of 9.9, as the Sooners trailed 98.075-97.650 at the halfway mark.
Moving to floor, the Sooners counted two 9.825s from Jackson and Kristin Smith, a pair of 9.7s from Kinder and Stone and a 9.45 from Ferguson in trailing 147.325-146.150 with one apparatus remaining.
OU closed the meet on beam, with a 9.875 from DeProspero, 9.775s from Ferguson, Jackson and Smith, a 9.725 from Kinder.
The Sooners return to action on Saturday, Jan. 15, against Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas. OU's meet with the Pioneers is its first of a pair scheduled matchups with TWU on the year as the two squad's face off in Norman on March 6 in a tri-meet with Illinois State.