AUBURN, Ala. - In a back and forth meet, the 25th-ranked LSU gymnastics team fought hard for a solid 194.475 score, but the Tigers fell 194.775-194.475 to Auburn Friday night at the Auburn Arena.
Redshirt freshman Kaleigh Dickson nearly won the all-around, finishing .05 out of the top spot behind Auburn's Petrina Yokay, 38.750-38.700.
"I ride them really hard during the week and tell them every day that at some point in this season I will no longer be the most intense person in the gym," head coach D-D Breaux said. "They're going to take some ownership. Tonight we saw an extremely young team put together a very emotional effort. But for a few immature errors on beam, we could have won this competition.
"Aside from that, winning or losing for us at this point is not the epicenter of what we are trying to do. What we are trying to do is build a team culture and have these young athletes understand what it is to continue to fight, and we saw a lot of that tonight."
The two teams tied each other after one rotation as LSU earned a 48.600 on bars and Auburn tallied a 48.600 on vault. LSU sophomore Ericka Garcia led off bars with a 9.70, followed by Mckenzie Fox's 9.65 and Kaleigh Dickson's 9.675. Shelby Prunty earned a 9.775, and Sarie Morrison wrapped the event with a 9.80. Sarah Zoldos' 9.30 was dropped.
LSU (0-2, 0-1 SEC) took the lead after the second rotation when the Tigers posted a 49.000 on vault compared to Auburn's 48.650 on bars. All six LSU competitors were solid as Ericka Garcia led off with a 9.75, Dickson added a 9.75 and Zoldos posted a 9.775. Ashley Lee, Maliah Mathis and Morrison tied for the event title with identical 9.825 scores.
Auburn took the lead for good in the third event, outscoring LSU by five tenths. Auburn posted a 48.850 on beam and LSU tallied a 48.350 on floor. The highest score was a 9.725 by Prunty who was competing on floor for the first time in her career. Lee led off with a 9.65 and was followed by Zoldos' 9.625. Prunty went third, and Dickson scored a 9.65 in the fourth spot. Mathis anchored with a 9.70, and Morrison's 9.175 was dropped.
Auburn sealed the victory by outscoring LSU 48.675-48.525 in the fourth rotation. The high scores of the event for LSU were 9.775's in the leadoff spot by Prunty and in the final spot by Ericka Garcia. Mathis' 9.075 in the second spot was dropped. Dickson earned a 9.625, Morrison scored a 9.675 and Janelle Garcia posted a 9.675.
LSU will play host to No. 1-ranked Florida in the Tigers home opener in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center next Friday at 7 p.m.
1. Auburn 194.775 (VT - 48.600, UB - 48.650, BB - 48.850, FX - 48.675)
2. LSU 194.475 (VT - 49.000, UB - 48.600, BB - 48.525, FX - 48.350)
Individual (Includes first place and all LSU competitors)