Tigers’ inconsistencies prove fatal in narrow loss to No.12-ranked Kentucky

Missouri’s strong performance on the floor Friday night was not enough to take down the 12th-ranked Wildcats.

A week after Missouri’s loss to No. 4 Alabama by a mere 0.25, the Tigers (0-2, 0-1 SEC) took on No. 12 Kentucky in their second home meet of the season.

Missouri’s performance last time out boasted a 1.5 point improvement in their total score and growth in three-of-their-four rotation scores on Friday. Although they recorded a season-high on floor, the Wildcats won the meet by a score of 195.775-195.350.

Head coach Shannon Welker cited consistency as one area his team could improve to turn things around. The Tigers were held back on Friday with falls on both bars and beam, which could have been the catalyst of their result.

“I feel a little stuck,” Welker said. “One weekend we’re making individual strides in individual competitions, and we have mistakes by certain people, and then it all switches the next weekend.”

Missouri sophomore Sienna Schreiber is off to a strong start to the season. She posted a 39.00 all-around score against the Crimson Tide and seemed to carry that momentum into their face-off with the Wildcats.

Schreiber began the night with a 9.75 on the vault, which outscored her last two previous tries in the rotation and led her team.

“Sienna has started to come on pretty strong and pick up where she left off last year,” Welker said.

The sophomore finished second with 39.250 and set her career-high on the floor with a 9.800 as Missouri’s only all-around contestant on Friday.

Alisa Sheremeta stood out in her second meet this year after missing the first competition for COVID-related reasons. She missed two and a half weeks of team activities, and after only three or four practices returned to the lineup. Sheremeta rebounded quickly from her time off — scoring above 9.800 in all six of her rotations so far — and looks to be a main contributor for the Tigers.

The final notable performance came from freshman Amaya Marshall, who impressed in only her second-career meet last week with an all-around score of 39.200, including career-highs in all four rotations. She posted a 9.85 for the Tigers on the floor against Kentucky and hasn’t tallied below 9.7 in any rotation for the Tigers so far in her short career.

“Amaya has been fairly consistent for us,” Welker said. “I’ve been pleased with her development, she's only going to get better.”

Kentucky, ranked No.12 in the nation, lived up to its reputation and maintained its lead through all four rotations. The Wildcats started strong on bars led by a 9.825 from Raena Worley, who took home the floor and the all-around titles.

The Cats amazed with their third-straight floor total of 49.250 and overcame a late fall on the beam to equal Missouri’s season-high from last week with a 195.775 and drop the Tigers to 0-3.

Despite their season obviously being affected by COVID-19 already, Welker refused to make any excuses.

“I wish I could blame it on that, but I’m not going to do that. We’re competing against teams that are finding ways to deal with it, and we have to do that as well.”

Although their record is discouraging, Welker believes the young talent on his team could be in a very different position through three games.

“I certainly think we’ve got more talent than 0-3, but we have to prove it, too,” Welker said. “It's not ideal, not really the start I wanted, I feel like we could've been 2-1 at this point ... we just gotta get the whole group in a better rhythm on the same night”

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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