Utah gymnastics: Utes stay unbeaten at home with win over Stanford
Some teams might get a little nervous competing at home in front of a live national TV audience for the first time.
Not Utah's gymnastics team. The seventh-ranked Utes competed like a team made for prime time on Saturday as the Utes downed No. 10 Stanford 197.3-197.075 in front of 13,357 at the Huntsman Center.
The meet had everything the Utes were hoping for a win, a vocal crowd that braved a big snowstorm to be a part of a "Blackout," a historic performance and a close enough meet to make it dramatic right to the end.
The highlight of the meet was junior Lia Del Priore ,who scored her first 10.0 of her career, earning the mark on the floor, where her previous best was a 9.85.
The perfect score was a surprise considering Del Priore was the second up in the lineup.
"I'm still in shock," Del Priore said. "I didn't think it actually happened. I didn't even get to look around. I was in complete shock."
In the end, the high mark was needed, since Stanford competed unfazed by the loud atmosphere on the balance beam. The Cardinal, ranked fourth in the event, posted a 49.475 with three scores of 9.9 or higher to nearly upset the Utes.
"I give Stanford a lot of credit," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "To be on the road in this arena and with this crowd and almost knock it out of the park on beam was impressive."
The Utes were impressive in their own right.
The Utes looked nothing like the team it was a week ago when it struggled to tie No. 23 Washington.
In that meet, breaks on the uneven bars and some uncharacteristically low scores on the balance beam and floor nearly gave the Huskies a rare win over the Utes.
That performance didn't exactly make the Utes heavy favorites against Stanford, which was coming off one of its best showings of the year.
A close meet might be good for TV drama, but the Utes needed a more resounding effort to boost their confidence with just a few weeks left in the regular season.
They nearly got just that, as the Utes were much stronger from the start, opening with a season-high 49.5 on the vault, led by Tory Wilson's 9.95.
The one glitch for the Utes came on the balance beam, where Utah scored a 49.025 as both Kassandra Lopez and Georgia Dabritz had notable breaks, scoring 9.35 and 9.675, respectively.
However, Mary Beth Lofgren tied her career high of 9.9 on the event to make up for some of the lost points and Utah went into the final rotation ahead 147.775-147.6.
Marsden said he was pleased with the performance, other than the balance beam.
"We are beating ourselves there," he said. "This week we had two spectacular training days on the beam and we come in here tonight and get tentative and have balance checks throughout. We have to do better at presenting on that event."
O IN SHORT • Utah's gymnastics team remains unbeaten at home behind a huge floor score to beat the Cardinal.
KEY MOMENT • Lia Del Priore earns a 10.0 on the floor, the first perfect mark of the junior's career.
KEY STAT • The Utes score a season-high 49.5 on the vault.
Vault • Tory Wilson (Utah) and Nicole Dayton (Stanford), 9.95
Uneven bars • Georgia Dabritz (Utah), 9.925
Balance beam • Amanda Spinner (Stanford), 9.95
Floor • Lia Del Priore (Utah), 10.0
All-around • Ashley Morgan (Stanford), 39.45