The Stanford women’s gymnastics team came into Saturday’s meet at Cal with a streak of 27 straight victories against the Golden Bears since 2000, with an overall record of 36-1 dating back 1996. Therefore, another victory might have been expected. What might not have been expected, however, was a season-best score for the Cardinal team and four individual titles to boot.
Cal posted its highest team score since 2007, so it would take a strong performance from Stanford to earn a victory. Stanford did just that, earning the 196.450-195.775 victory one week removed from its first loss of the season against Georgia. The 196.450 score is the Cardinal’s highest score of the season, replacing the previous best score of 196.025 when they traveled to Arizona two weeks ago. The Cardinal’s win improved their record to 7-1.
Stanford got off to a strong start on vault, posting a 49.275 compared to Cal’s 48.900. Stanford was led once again by senior captain Ashley Morgan, whose 9.925 tied her career-best score on vault and was good enough to earn herself the individual victory in the event. Morgan had a strong supporting cast as well, as freshman Taylor Rice put up a career-best 9.900 while freshman Melissa Chuang and sophomore Pauline Hanset posted a pair of 9.825 scores.
The Cardinal kept the ball rolling on uneven bars, as Samantha Shapiro led the way with a 9.950. Shapiro’s score was a new career-best for the sophomore, who specializes in the uneven bars, outdoing her previous high of 9.900 set last year. Sophomore Kristina Vaculik scored a 9.900, while Ashley and junior Shona Morgan both scored 9.850’s. The Cardinal scored a 49.300 as a team, its best team score of the afternoon, increasing its lead over Cal 98.575-97.900.
Stanford posted a 48.775 on beam, increasing its lead over Cal 147.350-146.450. Sophomore Ivana Hong, after missing last week’s meet, showed how valuable of an asset she is, scoring a career-best 9.925 in the event to take home the individual title. Junior Amanda Spinner finished second with a 9.825, as Spinner and Hong now have the Cardinal’s four best scores in the event on the season.
Going into the final round with a 0.900-point lead, Stanford looked to wrap up the event with a strong finish on floor exercise. It did just that, as the team’s 49.100 score was its best floor score of the season, and was enough to seal the victory despite Cal’s strong 49.325 score. Ashley Morgan scored a 9.925 to tie for the win of the individual event, which was the highest score a Cardinal has put up in the event so far this season. Shona Morgan earned the third spot with a 9.875.
Ashley Morgan earned another all-around individual victory, her second victory in as many weeks, with another 39.225. After stressing last week the importance of fighting for and “squeezing out” every fraction of a point, she exemplified that standard this week as her teammates followed her lead.
The team next competes on Saturday, Feb. 2nd, at home against UCLA. The Bruins are undefeated so far this season, earning their No. 4 national ranking with three consecutive dual meet victories. The Cardinal hopes to put an end to that streak in Saturday’s televised event.
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