Coming off a 196.800-194.525 loss against Pac-12 rival Oregon State for its first defeat of the season, the No. 12 Stanford women’s gymnastics team (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) hopes to get back to its winning ways on Sunday against No. 7 UCLA. The meet is the second of five straight road meets against Pac-12 opponents for the Cardinal.
UCLA (3-1, 2-1) fell to Washington, a team Stanford beat by 0.200 points in its second meet of the season, for its first loss of the season last Friday. Last season, UCLA was the defending NCAA champion and had lofty expectations heading into 2011. However, after losing to the Cardinal in its opening meet of the season, the Bruins would go on to lose to Stanford two more times before beating them in the Pac-10 Championships.
Stanford’s meet against Oregon State was its first road test of the season, and it looked as though not being at home may have fazed the Cardinal gymnasts, as the team posted a season-low 194.525. This score included a 47.950 on beam, the only event score below 48.000 for Stanford on the season, as senior Alyssa Brown’s career-best of 9.925 was not enough to make up for the team’s three falls on the event before her. Head coach Kristen Smyth attributed the Cardinal’s struggles in large part to the amount of pressure in the hostile atmosphere, but hoped the women would be better prepared for that in the future.
Sunday could potentially mark the official collegiate debut of sophomore Amanda Spinner. Despite never having competed in an official collegiate meet due to six knee surgeries throughout her career, Spinner is a captain and leader of the team. Spinner scored a 9.625 out of a possible 9.8 in an exhibition routine at Oregon State and the Cardinal hopes she can come in and contribute right away, especially due to the health problems that have plagued the team recently.
The Cardinal and the Bruins face off Sunday in Los Angeles at 12:30 p.m.