With just one meet under its belt, Georgia doesn’t want one poor rotation to undermine the solid work in the other three.
Georgia closed its season-opening meet against Oklahoma with a disappointing performance on floor exercise last week. But the Gym Dogs would like to concentrate on how well they did in the other three events.
“It’s just like driving a car,” senior Christa Tanella said. “The windshield is big and the rear-view mirror is small. Yes, we look at the past and what we did wrong. But basically we want to be looking forward. We have point out weaknesses because if you don’t, you’re never going to be able to turn them into strengths. So we had to do that. We analyzed the meet. We looked at that and now we want to direct it where we need to get to.”
Georgia (0-1, 0-0 in the Southeastern Conference) goes to Arkansas (0-0, 0-0) today for its first road meet of the season as well as the conference opener. The meet begins at 8 p.m. Eastern at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Ark.
“I’m excited, I really like going on the road,” junior Kaylan Earls said. “I like getting in a different atmosphere. I like getting nervous, which is weird because a lot of people don’t like being nervous, but I like it. I use my anxiety and my nervousness as a good thing. If I’m not nervous, then I wonder why I’m not nervous because something’s not right. I like competing and traveling.”
The first order of business when Georgia broke down last Saturday’s performance against Oklahoma was to find out what happened in the mistake-filled floor exercise.
Georgia led the Sooners after three rotations, but scored only 48.0 to close out the meet on floor and lost.
“We know that they can do those passes, so I don’t think that was a physical problem,” Georgia coach Danna Durante said. “We need to make sure that they trust their training. They need to trust that they’re prepared and not doubt. We saw a little bit of that doubt creep in during the meet so our goal this week is to trust our training. We trusted it on vault. We trusted it on bars. We trusted it pretty well on beam. But on floor, only a few trusted that they were prepared.”
Georgia suffered a hit before the meet against Oklahoma even started when senior Noel Couch went out with a thumb injury in one of the last practice sessions before the season started. Couch will likely miss today’s match as well, but could return to practice next week. Couch had competed in all-around in a school-record 28 straight matches until missing the Oklahoma opener last Saturday and her absence was felt.
“She’s filled a spot for three years, every day, in and out, consistently, no question,” Durante said. “Undoubtedly, not having her took a toll. But the great thing is, we had athletes ready to step in. I think they were more ready physically than mentally. Our job as a coach is to make sure they’re prepared all the way around.”
Tanella helped fill Couch’s void by competing on scoring 9.775 on bars, 9.725 on beam and 9.825 on floor. Last year, Tanella was a regular on bars but a part-time performer on beam and floor. But Tanella has drawn praise from Durante for her preseason preparation.
“This year I’ve really been focusing and Danna has helped so much,” Tanella said. “I’ve been focusing on changing my mentality as far as being a different competitor than I have any other year. It’s not just that this is my senior year and I wanted to do that. It’s just something that you’re always working on, and this year I’m just one step closer to being able to really nail it down.”
Georgia at Arkansas
When: 8 p.m. Eastern on Friday.
Where: Barnhill Arena, Fayetteville, Ark.
TV: Tape delay at 9 p.m. on Jan. 18 on CSS.
Records: Georgia is 0-1, 0-0 in the Southeastern Conference; Arkansas is 0-0, 0-0.
Rankings: Georgia is No. 11, Arkansas is No. 12.
Athletes to watch:
Georgia: Cat Hires scored a 9.925 on vault last week. … Shayla Worley scored a 9.9 on beam against Oklahoma. … Freshman Brittany Rogers competed on vault (9.85), bars (9.8) and beam (9.75) in her first collegiate meet.
Arkansas: Katherine Grable was an All-American on beam last year. … Amy Borsellino was a first-team All-American on vault. … Kelci Lewis was second-team All-American on floor.
Series record: Georgia leads 21-2-1, including 9-1 in duals.
Last meeting: Georgia won the last dual 196.825-195.875 in Athens last year.
Season at a glance: Georgia comes off of a 196450-195.425 loss at home to Oklahoma last week. This is Arkansas’ first meet of the season.
Noteworthy: This will be Georgia’s first road meet and first conference meet of the season. … Georgia had two scores of at least 9.9 against Oklahoma last week, a 9.925 by Cat Hires on vault and a 9.9 by Shayla Worley on beam. … Noel Couch is likely out with an injured thumb but could return to practice as early as next week. … Hires tied career highs in vault (9.925) and bars (9.825) last week. … Georgia freshmen Brandie Jay and Brittany Rogers competed for the first time as collegians last week. … Arkansas junior Katherine Grable spent two weeks ranked No. 1 in all-around last season. … Grable has been named either first- or second-team All-American four times in her career. … The last time Georgia went to Fayetteville, Arkansas scored its only dual win in the series history, 195.775-195.4 in 2011.