Nebraska gymnasts win at Cal
Berkeley, Calif. - An outstanding team outing on vault and stellar performances from three all-around competitors powered the No. 11 Nebraska women's gymnastics team to a 197.625-196.525 win over the Cal Golden Bears on Saturday night. The performance by the Huskers (9-3, 5-2 Big Ten) gave the squad their second-highest score of the season and their highest road score this year. Cal (8-9, 1-7 Pac-12) also had a solid evening, posting their highest team score in 2013.
"We came in here after a meet last week that we weren't totally satisfied with," Head Coach Dan Kendig said. "We wanted a good away score, and the girls delivered. We needed this going into Big Tens next week. It was an important meet for us, and I think it will give us a lot of confidence and momentum heading into our conference championship."
NU was led by junior Emily Wong, who earned or tied for titles on bars (9.925), beam (9.90) and floor (9.925) to take her sixth all-around title this season at 39.675. Her all-around score also tied her career-high from two weeks ago vs. Iowa. Hollie Blankse and Jessie DeZiel tied for top honors on vault with identical scores of 9.95, and Brittany Skinner tied for the beam title (9.90).
The Huskers opened the night on bars, posting their highest road score on the event this season at 49.300. NU was led by Wong, who began her evening in the all-around with a meet-best 9.925. DeZiel earned a 9.875, and Blanske tied her career-best on the event at 9.85.
Cal opened the evening with a 49.275 on vault. The Bears were paced by Kristina Heymann, who earned a 9.875 overall. The Huskers jumped to an early lead after the first rotation, leading Cal by a score of 49.300-49.275.
Nebraska erupted on vault in their second rotation, posting the nation's best team score on vault prior to this weekend with a 49.650. The score, the third-highest in program history, was fueled by a whopping five Huskers who posted marks of 9.90 or higher.
Leading the way on vault for the Big Red was Minnesota native DeZiel and Hollie Blanske, who earned identical marks of 9.95. DeZiel's score tied her career-high, while Blanske's mark was a new career-best for the freshman. Wong and Brittany Skinner added powerful 9.925 routines each, and Giblin earned a new-season best with a 9.90.
The Bears earned a 49.125 on bars on their second event, led by a 9.925 from Madisyn O'Brien. With two events down, NU extended their lead over Cal to 98.950-98.400.
Nebraska's momentum carried over to floor, where the team pulled down a 49.375 for their second-highest mark of the season. Wong led NU, posting her third consecutive 9.925 on the evening. Skinner tied her career-best with a 9.875, and Blanske and DeZiel each added a 9.875 as well.
Cal took to beam on their third rotation, earning a 48.925. Crystal Paz was tops for the Bears on the event, scoring a 9.875. With only one event remaining, Nebraska led the Bears by a score of 148.325-147.325.
THe Huskers sealed their victory on beam, posting a solid 49.300 on their final event of the night. Wong and Skinner paced the Huskers, each earning 9.90s. Skinner's mark gave her a new career-high. DeZiel added a season-best-tying score of 9.875, and Jennifer Lauer earned a 9.825.
The Bears earned a 49.200 on floor to close their evening, aided by identical scores of 9.875 from Alicia Asturias and Mariesah Pierce. The effort would not be enough to overcome Nebraska, but did give Cal their best team score of the season at 196.525.
NU's all-arounders put up three outstanding performances on the evening. In addition to Wong's meet-best 39.675, DeZiel posted an outstanding 39.575. Skinner added a 39.525, a new career-best for the senior. The Bears were led by Asturias, who earned a 39.375 to finish fourth.
Nebraska will open postseason competition next weekend in East Lansing, Mich., at the 2013 Big Ten Championship. Hosted by Michigan State at the Breslin Center, eight teams will take part in the event: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State. The meet will be split into two sessions, with session I starting at noon CDT and session II beginning at 5 p.m. CDT. Both sessions of the championship will air live on BTN.
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