Feb. 27, 2013
BERKELEY - After a week off, the California women's gymnastics squad (8-4, 1-4 Pac-12) is refreshed, recharged and ready for a key conference triangular meet featuring ninth-ranked Oregon State (10-5, 4-0 Pac-12) and twelfth-ranked Stanford (8-3, 3-2 Pac-12) at Burnham Pavilion in Palo Alto. Meet time is set for 7 p.m.
The meet is free to the public, but with only 1,500 seats at Burnham Pavilion, fans should plan to arrive early to ensure a seat.
"Competing at Stanford, there's always a great crowd. People pack that place, and it's a small gym so it's intense. When we're on beam the crowd is literally about four feet away," Golden Bears head coach Justin Howell said. "Since it's just 45 minutes away, it's good for us that this is an away meet but it feels like home."
The Golden Bears have faced each team once already this season, losing to both at home in Haas Pavilion. Stanford beat Cal by a 196.450-195.775 margin on Jan. 26 and the following week against Oregon State on Feb. 3, the Bears lost 196.050-194.700.
Cal is coming off a season-high 195.925 win against Brown and San Jose State in Berkeley on Feb. 18. The Golden Bears started off the best team vault score of the season at 49.20, thanks in part to junior Alicia Asturias' career-best 9.95, and continued the momentum. Two members of the team also matched their career-best scores at the meet, as senior Mariesah Pierce matched her career-best 9.8 on the bars and freshman Kristina Heymann match her 9.825 on floor. Asturias finished the night with a 39.375 career-best all-around performance, and the Golden Bears claimed at least one top three spot in each event.
The team is hoping to build on the successful individual and team performances of last week's meet with another strong showing, which would also help the team's overall ranking and extend postseason competition.
"We're not going into this meet trying to beat Stanford or Oregon State. We really need a good road score, and we're going in there to beat ourselves. When these girls go out there and hit that season-best, it's a reward for how hard they've been working. It really solidifies the investment they've made in their training and the lifestyle changes they've been making outside of the gym," Howell said. "We're not satisfied and we're hungry for more."
In Stanford's last outing, the Cardinal fell at Utah, 197.300-197.075, while the Beavers matched their season-high 196.925 to claim a victory against Arizona and Seattle Pacific.