STANFORD, Calif. – No. 9 Stanford delivered multiple highlight performances in its home-opener Sunday, earning an impressive 196.325-196.150 victory over No. 8 Georgia.
In front of a crowd of over 2,000 fans in Maples Pavilion, Stanford (5-0, 1-0 Pac-12) grew stronger throughout the meet and claimed top scores in the final two events to earn the victory.
Taylor Rice won the individual title on floor with a collegiate best 9.900 and is quickly establishing herself as a top all-arounder, claiming today’s individual honor with a 39.325. Amanda Spinner earned her second individual title on beam this season, tying three Georgia gymnasts with a 9.875.
Kristina Vaculik continued to be a major contributor and delivered big scores on bars (9.875), beam (9.850) and floor (9.875). Vaculik has scored 9.800 or higher on all three events in two meets this season and her floor performance today was a collegiate best.
“Kristina has been doing a phenomenal job on all three events for us,” Smyth said. “She is one of the most beautiful and artistic athletes in the country. Her work is effortless and captivating. She also brings veteran leadership and confidence when she steps out on the floor.”
After a tough start on vault to open the competition, the Cardinal found its rhythm on bars and beam and entered the final rotation on floor with a 147.075-147.000 lead.
Stanford knew a strong performance on floor would secure the victory.
The Cardinal delivered.
Shona Morgan posted a 9.775 with a confident routine to begin the event. In just the second meet of their collegiate careers, Rachel Daum and Jenna Frowein delivered big performances under pressure, recording scores of 9.775 and 9.825, respectively.
Pauline Hanset, who missed the end of the 2013 season due to injury, had a strong 2014 debut and kept Stanford rolling with a 9.875. Rice followed with a meet-best 9.900 and Vaculik anchored the event with a 9.875. The Cardinal outscored Georgia 49.250-48.675 on the event.
“There were great performances from individuals but overall it was the collective effort that got us the result,” Smyth said. “I was really proud of how the team came from behind, handled adversity and hit all 24 routines.”
Georgia (0-2, 0-0 SEC) held the early lead in the competition, earning top scores on vault (49.000) and bars (49.325). The Gym Dogs were led by Lindsey Cheek who claimed the individual event titles on vault (9.900) and bars (9.900), and tied for the beam title (9.875).
“Georgia is a great team and it’s always a privilege to have a program like that make the trip out here,” Smyth said. “It’s good preparation for postseason competition and it gives our fans the opportunity to see a perennial top-six team, which is great.”
Melissa Chuang led the way for the Cardinal on vault for the second week in a row, scoring 9.800. Rice, Daum and Hanset delivered consecutive scores of 9.750 to open the meet.
Vaculik and Samantha Shapiro posted top marks on bars, both scoring 9.875 in the fifth and sixth positions. The duo’s strong performance to close out the event helped give Stanford the momentum it needed to complete the first half of competition and prepare for beam. Rice also had a good day on bars, notching a collegiate-best 9.850.
Led by Spinner’s 9.875, the Cardinal recorded five scores on 9.800 or higher on beam. Rice and Vaculik earned scores of 9.850, while Morgan went 9.825 and Nicolette McNair posted a 9.800.
Stanford will remain at home next week, playing host to Arizona and Sacramento State on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion.