No. 20 Missouri looks for first win against No. 12 Kentucky

After a .025 point loss to No. 4 Alabama, Missouri gymnastics is poised to bounce back

Missouri gymnastics, despite aggravating injuries to crucial gymnasts and an 0-2 start, is poised to compete closely with No. 12 Kentucky Friday night.

Its second conference meet will feature a Missouri lineup that holds greater depth than in their first meet against Georgia. Having lost sophomore Helen Hu to injury, along with junior Alisa Sheremeta, Missouri struggled to match Georgia’s depth and skill.

Hu was lost for the season with an ACL tear, but Sheremeta returned to action against Alabama last Friday.

“We knew we were going to be a little thin, with some people out with preseason injuries and missing another regular competitor out tonight.” coach Shannon Welker said. “We had a lot of new young ladies in there.”

Sophomore Sienna Schreiber has stepped up for the Tigers, scoring in seven events between the two contests. In a lineup mired by injuries, she has been a bright spot for the No. 20 Missouri squad.

Kentucky, having previously lost to Alabama and beaten Auburn, currently averages about one more point than the Missouri squad. They are a potent lineup due to their well-rounded roster, with Raena Worley and Josie Angeny leading the Wildcats against Auburn last Friday.

Kentucky’s most effective event this year has been the floor and vault, posting a total score of 49.250 in every one of those events in their two meets. They will most likely put up a comparable score Friday night, and Missouri will have to capitalize on weaker scores on the bars and beam from the Wildcats.

While Kentucky has scored highest in floor and vault, Missouri’s best event has been harder to pinpoint. They have displayed little of Kentucky’s prowess on the floor, and they have failed to display a higher score than Kentucky in any of the events. While the Tigers displayed some talent on the bars against Georgia, they lost their touch against Alabama.

It is difficult to predict any measure of significant success in any event for Missouri.

The key to the meet game will be Missouri’s ability to consistently produce within each of their gymnasts and to out-perform Kentucky’s on bars and beam. The Tigers have shown thus far that they lack the depth to perform well in any event.

Establishing a consistent performance will now rely heavily on junior Hannah McCrary and freshman Amaya Marshall.

Marshall competed as an all-arounder against Alabama and was the highest-scoring all-around gymnast for Missouri this year. McCRary put up the highest single score of the season thus far with a 9.925 on the floor.

“One of the things we have to get better at is believing in ourselves as a team,” Welker said. “We have to understand our ability and rise to that ability. We have a lot of talent on this team and it's time for them to believe in ourselves. Once we do that, we're going to be a really tough team.”

Edited by Jack Soble |

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