NEBRASKA at PENN STATE
No. 8 Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-0 Overall, 2-0 Big Ten)
No. 23 Penn State (8-1 Overall, 2-0 Big Ten)
Date: Saturday, Feb. 8
Time: 4 p.m. ET
Location: University Park, Pa.
Arena: Rec Hall
Live Stats: gopsusports.com
Online Video: Pay-to-view on gopsusports.com
Following a season-best score of 196.975 last weekend in a win over Minnesota, the No. 8 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team will hit the road for the third time this season to face No. 23 Penn State. The Huskers (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) and the Nittany Lions (8-1, 2-0 Big Ten) will square off in Rec Hall on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. ET. This meet is a double dual with the Penn State men’s gymnastics team. Fans unable to attend the meet can follow free live stats, or pay-to-view live streaming on Penn State’s website at gopsusports.com.
The Huskers look to carry their momentum from last weekend into Saturday's match. Nebraska leads Penn State all-time in the series, holding a 38-9 regular-season edge. The two teams last met at the Big Ten Championships, where Nebraska took home a 197.800-195.825 victory and the conference crown.
A Glance At The Nittany Lions
Head Coach: Jeff Thompson (Fourth Year)
2014 Record: 8-1, 2-0 Big Ten
2014 High Score: 196.150
2013 Record: 13-5
Conference Finish: 6th (195.825)
2013 NCAA Finish: N/A
2013 High Score: 196.975
Scouting Penn State
• Last season Penn State finished sixth in the Big Ten to be selected to compete in the Regional held in Norman Okla.
• Sharaya Musser was the only Nittany Lion to move onto the NCAA Championships in the all-around last season.
• Penn State returns two seniors in Lindsay Musgrove and Kassidy Stauder, five juniors with Lexi Carroll, Randi Lau, Sidney Sanabria-Robles, Krystal Welsh and Alex Witt. Sophomores Taylor Alotta, Hannah Kobman, Samantha Musto and Savannah Soares all return for their second season, while newcomers feature, Nicole Medvitz, Tina Postiglione and Emma Sibson.
• Sophomore Samantha Musto and junior Krystal Welsh were named to the 2014 Big Ten Gymnasts to watch list.
• The Nittany Lions are 8-1 this season falling only to Kentucky on Jan. 10.
• Last weekend Penn State took down Big Ten opponent Ohio State 196.150-195.625 to move up one spot in the national rankings.
• Leading the way for the Nittany Lions is Sidney Sanabria-Robles who set a personal best last weekend with an all-around score of 39.275.
Nebraska’s Rotation Order vs. Penn State
Rotation Nebraska Penn State
1. Uneven Bars Vault
2. Vault Uneven Bars
3. Floor Exercise Balance Beam
4. Balance Beam Floor Exercise
Last Time Out: Huskers Post Season-High to Rout Minnesota
The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team posted three season-high team scores to defeat the No. 14 Minnesota Gophers 196.975-195.900, Friday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Big Red posted new season-high scores on bars (49.325) floor (49.350) and overall (196.975).
“I am really proud of my team,” head coach Dan Kendig said. “I thought we had a really great week of practice. I really think that makes a difference, and it is even better to see that difference in competition.”
Senior Emily Wong once again led the Huskers claiming four event titles including the all-around crown with a score of 39.525. Wong’s efforts included a new season-high on vault (9.925), a career-high tie on bars (9.95), and a season-high tie on floor (9.95). Wong has now collected 13 event titles this season.
The Huskers started their evening on vault tabbing a solid 49.250. Emily Wong led the way posting a new season-high 9.925 to take top honors, while Desire Stephens placed second to tie her career-high 9.875. Hollie Blanske and Ariel Martin added on two identical marks of 9.825.
The Gophers began their night on bars posting a team score of 48.90. Maddie Hanley tabbed a 9.875 to lead the Gophers. After one event Nebraska jumped out to an early lead over Minnesota 49.250-48.900.
Next, Nebraska moved to bars where they earned a new season-high score of 49.325. Three Huskers placed top-three and each notched scores of 9.9 or higher. Wong with a strong 9.95, while Blanske and Lauer posted identical scores of 9.90, both claiming second place and career-high scores on the event.
“Boy, did the back end of the bar lineup really pick it up. The first time for Jennifer Lauer on bars, and she went a 9.90. I knew she was clean, but not only did she do the routine, but she suck her dismount. Incredible routine, I am so proud of her.”
Minnesota took to vault hitting a 48.950 mark. After two rotations the Huskers held their lead over the Gophers 98.575-97.850.
Then, the Huskers took to beam posting a 49.050. Jennifer Lauer once again led on beam notching a solid 9.875 to take the event tittle. This is the junior’s fourth title on the event this season. The trio of Blanske, A. Lauer, and Schleppenbach contributed three scores of 9.775.
Minnesota moved to floor where they earned a team score of 48.975. Kylie Schermann led the way for the Gophers tabbing a score of 9.85. With only one event left Nebraska led 147.625-146.825.
In the final event of the evening NU took to floor where their tallied a new season-high 49.350. Wong marked a 9.95, while Blanske earned her new career-high 9.925 score. Desire’ Stephens added on a 9.85 to tie her career-high.
Minnesota finished the evening on beam with a 49.075, Hanna Nordquist posted 9.875 to tie with Jennifer Lauer for the event title.
“For the first time in three years, Jessie DeZiel did not compete in the all-around. Her teammates really picked it up for her and we had our best team score all year,” Kendig said. “I am so proud of this team, and it makes us feel like we are that much deeper and we are able to do that much more. I cannot wait to get back in the gym on Monday and make it even better for next week.”
Nebraska in the Rankings: Huskers Hold Steady at No. 8
The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team maintained its No. 8 national ranking this week in the latest GymInfo poll. The poll, which is calculated by total season average, also ranks NU second in the South Central Region and in the Big 10 Conference. Oklahoma, who held the No. 1 spot for the first four weeks of the season dropped to the No. 2 spot behind the defending National Champion, Florida Gators. No. 3 ranked LSU and No. 4 Utah remain in their previous slots while Georgia moves up one to round out the top five teams. Along with the Huskers, No. 6 Michigan is the only other Big Ten school inside the top-ten.
The Huskers remain inside the top-15 on every event led by a No. 6 ranking on beam (49.050). NU also comes in eighth on vault (49.256), 11th on bars (49.050), and is tied for ninth on floor (49.188).
In addition to Nebraska’s team efforts, two Huskers collected a total of five top-ten national rankings as individuals. Wong paced the Big Red with an appearance at No. 4 in all-around competition (39.513), a tie for third on floor (9.931), 24th on vault (9.875) and is eight on bars (9.894). Jennifer Lauer earned a tie for fourth on bars (9.90) and is also tied for sixth on beam (9.888).
Up Next for Nebraska
The Big Red will head back to Lincoln for a Big Ten rival match on Valentine’s Day. The Huskers will face No. 6 Michigan on Friday, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Michigan is the only other Big Ten team currently ranked in the top-ten nationally.
The Huskers and the Wolverines were picked to finish as the top two teams in the Big Ten this season. Nebraska leads the all-time series against the Michigan 22-19-1 with the last regular season meeting between the two was at the Big Ten Championships where the Huskers barley out-scored the Wolverines 197.800-197.225 to take the crown.
Huskers’ Meet with No. 6 Michigan to be Broadcast on BTN
Nebraska’s home meet against the Michigan Wolverines will go national next weekend as BTN provides coverage of the showdown between two of the conference’s top teams. The meet between the Huskers and the Wolverines will be shown on BTN on tape delay, airing the following day Saturday, Feb. 15.
Wong Shines for the Huskers
With only one month into competition season, senior Emily Wong has already made her claim as one of the nation’s top all-around gymnasts for 2014. She has collected 13 titles in only four meets and has posted some of the top scores in the country. Her 13 event titles so far this season doubles what she claimed at this point last year.
Wong has led the Huskers in every meet this year starting with the season opening victory over Northern Illinois, by winning the floor title en route to capturing top honors in the all-around. She capped her stellar opening weekend by earning Big Ten Gymnast of the week honors. This award marks the third of her career.
Wong was the heartbeat to the Huskers victory over No. 3 ranked Alabama at the Ozone Collegiate classic in Knoxville. She took home the all-around crown notching a season-high score of 39.550 which included a first place finish on floor (9.95). At Iowa, she led the team capturing four titles including the all-around with another 39.550 mark. She tabbed a season-high score on beam (9.875).
Last weekend against No. 14 Minnesota, Wong paced the Huskers claiming another all-around title. Her efforts included a new season high on vault (9.925), a career-high tie on bars (9.95), and a season-high tie on floor (9.95).
As of Monday, Wong is now tied at No. 4 in the all-around averaging a 39.513. She also adds a No. 3 tie on floor (9.931), No. 8 on bars (9.894) and 24th on vault (9.875).
Steady Lauer Boosts Huskers on Beam
Junior Jennifer Lauer has stepped up on beam through Nebraska’s first four meets, owning an average of 9.888 on the event. The Sioux City, Iowa native is tied for sixth nationally on beam and has scored no lower than a 9.85 this season. Lauer exploded into the National scene once again this year at the season opener posting a 9.85. At the Ozone Collegiate Classic she picked-up her season-high 9.925 on the event. Lauer has collected four titles in four showings on beam.
Big Ten Network
The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team will be featured twice on the Big Ten Network on a tape delay basis this season. The Huskers home dual against No. 6 Michigan on Friday Feb. 14, will air on BTN the following day (Saturday Feb. 15). The Big Ten quad meet in East Lansing with Michigan State, Illinois, and Ohio State on Saturday March 15 will also air on BTN two hours after the meet ends, approximately at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Saturday, March 22, BTN will televise the first session of the Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championship meet live at noon ET, followed by the second session live at 5 p.m. ET. The championships are being held in University Park, Pa.
Defending Conference Champions Look For Continued Success
After winning its second consecutive Big Ten conference title, Nebraska returns to the gym with even higher expectations for the 2014 season. NU will welcome back seven letter winners from last season, including three All-Americans, as well as two Huskers returning from injuries last season, while adding two newcomers to the roster. The Huskers will have a stockpile of talent to once again rank among the nation’s elite collegiate programs. Led by head coach Dan Kendig in his 21st season at Nebraska, who sees the potential for continued success with the 2014 squad.
“I do think at the end of the day we will have a better team than we had last year,” Kendig said. “We definitely have the potential to have that happen. The girls are training incredibly hard and their focus is tremendous. This could be an exciting season for us.”
Three All-Americans Prepared to Lead Huskers In 2014
Nebraska will be led by three returning All-Americans, including two honorees that captured six awards last season. Jessie DeZiel and Emily Wong headline the group that has won 14 awards since 2011 and also includes senior Jamie Schleppenbach.
In the all-around competition the Huskers will welcome back two first-team selections in DeZiel and Wong, who both competed in the 2013 NCAA Championships where they picked up All-American accolades. Tying for third overall in the all-around Wong claimed a first-team selection as teammate DeZiel placed 12 overall taking home second-team honors.
Nebraska will look for more success from its vaulting lineup as it holds one of the top three team scores in the country (49.725). This vaulting corps fields all three previous All-Americans in Wong, who picked up first-team honors last season, Schleppenbach a first team selection in 2011 and DeZiel, a second-team selection in 2012.
Kendig Builds One of Nation’s Top Programs
Now in his 21st year at the helm of the Nebraska gymnastics program, Head Coach Dan Kendig is the all-time winningest coach in Nebraska history. Since Kendig arrived at NU, his teams have compiled an outstanding 459-175-4 (.719) record, including a 303-62-2 regular season record. His most recent honor was in 2012 when he earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Huskers to the program’s 22nd conference title.
Kendig has also led the Huskers to 15 NCAA Championship appearances in the past 18 seasons, including Super Six Finals appearances in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2011. Kendig was honored as the NCAA Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2003, a year in which the Huskers finished fourth nationally. He guided the 2013 squad to another Big Ten conference title increasing Nebraska’s mark to 23 conference championships. The Huskers earned six All-America awards at the 2013 NCAA Championships and compiled a 19-5 overall record. Nebraska qualified for NCAA postseason competition for the 29th time in program history, finishing third at the NCAA Morgantown Regional. The 2013 squad posted three of the highest team scores in school history throughout the year while spending consistent time ranked as one of the nation’s top-10 teams.
NU Assistants Set to Lead Huskers in 2014
Joining Kendig in his leadership of the Huskers this season will be third-year assistant coaches Heather Brink and Dan Miller. Brink will continue her role in the gym as the team’s beam coach while assisting with floor choreography. Brink contributed to Nebraska’s continued success in 2013, as the Huskers claimed 13 beam titles including the Big Ten Championship title shared by Emily Wong and Jennifer Lauer with an identical score of 9.90. Wong went on to claim second-team All-American accolades on the event.
Miller will continue to lead NU’s efforts on vault and floor in 2014. He helped Nebraska’s vault and floor lineups continue to dominate in 2013. At the Big Ten Championships the Huskers posted four individual vault scores of 9.95 and a team-high score of 49.725, which helped secure the Huskers the Big Ten Conference title. Miller guided Britanny Skinner to her individual vault appearance at the NCAA Championships and Emily Wong and Jessie DeZiel to earn All-America honors.
Volunteer assistant coach Alina Weinstein in her first season will aid NU’s full-time staff in 2014. Weinstein will assist Brink on balance beam, as well as the Huskers strength and conditioning programs.