The Maneater

No. 17 Missouri gymnastics collapses in second half of meet, falls to No. 7 Alabama

The Tigers had three falls plus three additional error-riddled routines in the second half of the meet.

Missouri's gymnastics team huddles up before starting a home December match. Maneater file photo

Alabama’s lead coming into the third rotation of its meet against Missouri gymnastics had all but evaporated. The Tigers looked poised to snatch their second consecutive victory against top-10 opposition after each of the Crimson Tide’s first two competitors fell off of the beam.

But Mizzou failed to respond, as the team recorded three falls plus three additional error-riddled routines in the second half of the meet.

The No. 7-ranked Crimson Tide rolled on to win 195.85 - 194.525 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Friday, handing the No. 17-ranked Tigers their second Southeastern Conference loss of the season.

Alabama had almost built a half-point lead by the start of the third rotation via Nickie Guerrero’s 9.925 on the vault and Lexi Graber’s 9.9 on the bars. But that advantage was then put to the test, as underclassmen Peyton Ernst and Alonza Klopfer both took a tumble off of the beam.

Mizzou then squandered its opportunity to mount a comeback. Juniors Michaelee Turner and Brooke Kelly both fell during their floor routines, followed by sophomore Aspen Tucker’s plunge in her beam routine.

Overall, the Tigers posted six scores of 9.6 or lower against the Crimson Tide, five of which came after Alabama’s two falls in the third rotation. Mizzou only had one such score in its victory against No. 10 Arkansas last week.

“That was a little disappointing tonight,” head coach Shannon Welker said in a press release. “It seemed like we lacked a little bit of focus. We're going to have to toughen up and be a little more relentless. We're going to run into tough environments like this so we have to be better and we have to prepare better.”

Despite her fall on the beam, Tucker had an otherwise positive night. She won the all-around competition with a score of 38.575, highlighted by her 9.9 on the floor.

However, according to Welker, Mizzou lacked both focus and confidence on a night when it was outscored in all four rotations against a top-tier Alabama side.

The team will want to improve its mental approach before it takes on Georgia on Feb. 3. The meet is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. CT in Athens, Georgia.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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