#19 Illinois Fall Short In Upset Bid Over #7 Nebraska
Feb. 1, 2013
LINCOLN, Neb. - The No. 19 University of Illinois women's gymnastics team gave No. 7 Nebraska all they could handle early on inside the Bob Devaney Center Friday night. The Cornhuskers, who averaged 196.383 entering the meet, opened the door for a possible upset in Lincoln when they recorded a final team total of 195.750, but Illinois came up just short in the end, as they finished with a score of 194.750.
"All in all, it was a disappointing performance after coming off a season high," said Illinois head coach Kim Landrus. "Our goal was to continue to build on what we did last week, but we struggled on floor and gave away too many tenths in landings on the other events. This team is very capable of consistently competing well, but they are going to have to set higher standards for themselves in practice and in competitions. Our goals are clear, but now we have to act in a manner that will help us realize them. We will have a full week of training which should allow us to work on the things that did not go so well today. They are all fixable, so I look forward to seeing how this team will respond."
To open the meet, the Illini turned in a 48.775 on bars, which also happens to be their season average on the event. Alina Weinstein, who finished fourth on bars, recorded a team high 9.800. Next, the trio of Sarah Fiedler, Jaclyn Kantecki and Jordan Naleway all added a 9.750 to the Illini's team total. In fact, Naleway has proven very consistent on the event, scoring a 9.750 in all four meets this season. Finally, Giana O'Connor completed the team score with a 9.725.
Heading into the second rotation, the Illini trailed the Huskers 49.300-48.775, but they would soon cut the deficit by scoring above their season average on vault. Weinstein helped power the Illini to a 48.850 on vault after the senior achieved a career high of 9.900, which was good for a second place finish. O'Connor tied for sixth with a 9.800, just slightly off of her career high (9.825) set last weekend vs. Michigan State. In addition, Amber See tied her season high with a 9.750. Rounding out the Illini scores were Jaclyn Kantecki (9.750) and Heather Foley (9.650). Thus, at the half-way point, the Illini closed the gap to 0.350, as the running score went to 97.975-97.625 in Nebraska's favor.
The Orange and Blue moved to floor next where they posted a 48.625. Third place finisher Amber See scored a 9.800 in the event to lead the Illini. O'Connor followed suit by tying for fifth with a 9.775. Also counting scores for Illinois were Fiedler (9.725), Eberly (9.675) and Naleway (9.650). Weinstein did compete on the floor exercise, but her score (9.500) was not used after stepping out of bounds on her final tumbling pass.
Going into the last rotation, Nebraska extended their lead by a margin of 0.525, leading the Illini 146.775-146.250. Illinois ended the meet on their statistically best event, the balance beam, where they rank 11th in the nation, but encountered some slight struggles tonight, scoring a 48.500. Weinstein bounced back on the final event by tying for third with a score of 9.800. O'Connor also placed in the top-5 when she accomplished a 9.750. Finally, junior Sarah Fiedler contributed a 9.725 to the team score.
Giana O'Connor edged out teammate Alina Weinstein for the first time in the all-around. The freshman finished in second place with a 39.050, as Weinstein came in third with a score of 39.000. Despite the small floor setback, Weinstein has scored at least a 39 in the all-around in every meet this season.
Up next, the Illini continue their Big Ten road-trip traveling to Minneapolis on Saturday, Feb. 9, to take on the Minnesota Gophers at 4 p.m. CT.