The Tigers hosted the Florida Gators on Friday night, and after many mistakes and missed opportunities, Auburn fell to the Gators, 197.875-194.750.
Auburn’s young gymnastics squad looked rusty tonight, and after a light practice week, Auburn head coach Jeff Graba knows that will not be the plan moving forward.
"We paid for the rust, and we can't do that again," he said. "We have to assume they're going the right direction on energy and we have to crank into the technical stuff more this week."
The first rotation was a tough one for the Tigers as the Gators outscored Auburn 49.450-49.100. Besides senior Gracie Day, who tied her career-high of 9.925 for the second week in a row, Auburn was not its usual self on the vault coming off a season-high on vault against Kentucky.
Day credited her recent individual success to the hard work and dedication she has put into her training, but of course she was not happy with the results of the meet.
"We can't change the fact that we didn't do the best we could, but we can change how we move forward," Day said.
Auburn found momentum in the second rotation led again by a strong performance from Day. Day posted a 9.900 on the bars which was the team high for the Tigers in the second rotation. Day was assisted by Aria Brusch and Drew Watson who scored 9.850's on the bars.
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Then, after looking better in the second rotation Auburn's hopes of a win were crushed in the third on the beam. Emma Slappey had an off night on the beam scoring an 8.950, and Drew Watson could not find her rhythm finishing with a 9.075. The Gators capitalized on Auburn's missed opportunities and extended their lead to 148.250-146.325.
“All the things were there, our gymnastics just wasn't there tonight,” said Day. The third rotation was the knockout punch the Gators were looking for, and the lead seemed insurmountable going into the fourth rotation. Graba spoke about the mistakes his team made Friday night, "The stuff we are leaving on the table is all fixable stuff," Graba said.
The Tigers were well-rested coming into Friday night, but Derrian Gobourne did not end up competing in the floor routine because of a foot injury. "We wanted to be safe with Derrian. She's got a little foot thing going on and we just don't want to push it," Graba said.
The fourth rotation was much cleaner for the Tigers as they picked up some needed points on the floor. Day continued her great performance on the evening scoring a 9.900, but the Tigers were again outdone by Florida with Gators' star Trinity Thomas scoring a 10.000 on the beam. It was indicative of a night where Auburn gymnasts either did not execute or could not match Florida's talent.
In the end, Trinity Thomas and the Gators proved why they are the No. 2 team in the country on the road Friday night. Auburn can still take some positives away from what was a disappointing score, knowing that they left a lot out on the floor. "I think we are moving in the right direction. We just all need to be dialed in," Day said.
It was not a great night for the Tigers but it’s one they can learn from moving forward in the season. Auburn will not compete again until next Friday night at 6:30 p.m. CST in Fayetteville against the Razorbacks.
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