Jan. 26, 2013
BERKELEY - The No. 21 California Golden Bears scored a season high but were defeated by the No. 10 Stanford Cardinal on Saturday night by a score of 196.450-195.775. The score is Cal's highest since March 23, 2007 when they scored a 196.500.
"We go into every single meet focusing on the things that we can control," said head coach Justin Howell. "I think we did that again tonight. There are things we can do better, but what I was most proud of was that we had a few 'mental moments' where in the past we would have fallen like dominoes. But tonight we recovered and showed pride and spirit. If we do that and we don't give up, then the score reflects it."
Senior Madisyn O'Brien continued her dominance on the bars, winning the event for the third time in four meets by posting a 9.950, a new career high.
The score ties her for second in the Cal record book with My-Lan Dodd and Stephanie Kim who both earned the score on March 12, 2004. It also is the highest score earned by a Golden Bear on any event since 2004.
"She performs hard week after week," said Howell. "She does it while training and I always expect her to do it here. All of our athletes work so hard. Alicia Asturias and Mariesah Pierce come out week after week to perform a physically demanding. I'm incredibly proud of all of them."
The Bears began the evening on vault where they finished with a score of 48.900. Junior Alicia Asturias led the way, earning a 9.825 on the event to tie for third.
Cal continued the meet on the bars, where they posted a 49.000. It was their highest score of the season on the event, and their highest since Feb. 12 of last season, when they scored a 49.150 against UC Davis. Along with O'Brien's 9.950, the Bears received great efforts from junior Dallas Crawford, who posted a 9.825 and Asturias, who posted a 9.800. Both scores matched each gymnast's top score for the season.
Cal next moved to the beam where they notched a 48.550, their second highest score of the year. Not content with her bar performance alone, O'Brien nailed another routine to earn a 9.850 and place second on the event. The score tied her career best and is the best mark on the team this season. Freshman Serena Leong also made a splash, earning a 9.775 on the apparatus. The mark is her new season best.
Cal finished the competition on floor, where it was senior Mariesah Pierce's turn to dazzle. She became the fourth Golden Bear to earn a score of over 9.900 this season, marking a 9.925 to place second on the event. The score is second in Cal's record book and is the highest score a Bear has earned on floor since March 12, 2004 when Dodd earned the same mark. Leong also earned her second 9.900 of the season on the event. As a team, the Bears scored a 49.325, their highest score on the apparatus since Feb. 20, 2004 when they earned a school record 49.425. Tonight's score is third in the record book.
"Floor is our strongest event this year," said Howell. "I give a lot of credit to assistant coach Elisabeth Crandall. She does their choreography, which is incredible. She brought her experience and energy to the event. The confidence shows in their performances and in their scores."
California returns to Haas next Sunday, Feb. 3 when they host the Oregon State Beavers at 2 p.m.