On Friday, No. 18 Auburn was taken down by No. 10 Alabama by a score of 196.925-195.575.
Despite the loss, the Tigers improved from the previous road meets and produced their highest score on the road this season.
“For such a young team, I felt that they handled tonight’s meet as good as they could early in the season,” said head coach Jeff Graba. “The simple fact is that we grew up a lot tonight and we needed that to happen. This season is coming at us fast and it’s chaotic with all the outside things going on. I really think we did well in a tough environment.”
Upperclassmen Derrian Gobourne and Drew Watson helped lead the team in the all-around. Gobourne led the team in the category with a 39.175. The junior also led on the floor and on the vault.
Watson competed for the first time in the all-around category and had her best score on the floor with a 9.80.
Sophomore Piper Smith was a star for the underclassmen. Smith had two career highs with a 9.85 on bars and a 9.9 on the beam. She competed in three of the four events.
Freshman Olivia Hollingsworth competed for the underclassmen in the all-round for the second meet in a row. She averaged 39.900 overall.
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“[Smith] is finally doing what we see in practice,” Graba said. “I’m excited because this is what we expected out of her and it’s obvious the sky is the limit for her.”
The Tigers started on the bars scoring 49.000, their highest event of the night. Smith led the way with her career-high 9.85. Gobourne was the anchor and helped push the average.
Auburn moved to the vault, with Gobourne continuing to anchor and carry the team’s score.
The third rotation was floor, and the Tigers saw their lowest event score of the night with a 48.775. The upperclassmen led on floor, with Watson scoring her highest average of the night at 9.8. Gobourne anchored once again with a 9.875.
The beam was the final event of the night for the Tigers, and Smith led the way at 9.9, another career-best. The all-arounder's finished this round with a 9.6 from Gobourne, 9.7 from Hollingsworth and a 9.725 from Watson.
“We’re going to have multiple all-around performers periodically with the way this team is built,” Graba said. “We’re happy with where [Watson] is right now considering what she’s had to get through to get to this point. She’s about to break through and will continue to get a lot better in the next few weeks.”
Auburn will face another set of Tigers at home for its next meet. No. 5 LSU will compete against Auburn in Auburn Arena Friday at 4 p.m. CST with the meet airing on ESPN2.
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