The Nebraska gymnastics team overcame struggles on several events to pull out a solid team victory over Illinois on Friday night, earning a 195.750-194.750 win at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers (3-1, 3-1 Big Ten) swept all four events and the all-around in front of a crowd of 1,725 fans to hand Illinois (2-4, 1-2 Big Ten) their fourth loss of the season.
"I'm proud of the effort," Head Coach Dan Kendig said. "I'm not disappointed in that, but I know this team has more in them. We'll go back to work in the gym this week. It's our first full week of practice since the season started, so we're looking forward to that."
Jessie DeZiel led the way for Nebraska, tying for the floor title (9.85) en route to picking up her first all-around win of 2013 with a season-best 39.425. Jamie Schleppenbach captured the vault title (9.925) and tied for the floor title (9.85) on Friday night. Janelle Giblin tied her career-best score on bars (9.95) and took the bar title home, while Jennifer Lauer took home the beam title with a 9.85.
The Huskers kicked off the evening on vault, tying their season-high on the event with a 49.300. Nebraska was paced by returning All-American Schleppenbach, who posted a season-high 9.925, and senior Brittany Skinner, who earned a 9.875. Giblin and DeZiel earned identical scores of 9.85 to help NU take an early lead.
The Illini picked up a 48.775 on bars in their first rotation, paced by Alina Weinstein's 9.80 effort. After one rotation, the Huskers led Illinois by a score of 49.300-48.775.
NU had a slow start on bars but finished with a bang thanks to the efforts of Nebraska's final three performers, earning a 48.675. Giblin led the way, anchoring the Big Red's efforts with her season-high 9.95. The score marked the senior's best effort on the event since she hit an identical score against Iowa State last season, and the fourth time in her career she has earned a 9.95 on the event.. DeZiel and Emily Wong added to Nebraska's strong finish, earning individual 9.90 marks, while Kassandra Nathe added a season-best 9.80.
Illinois took to vault in the second rotation, earning a 48.850. The Illini were paced by Weinstein, who picked up a 9.90. After two events, Nebraska led Illinois 97.975-97.625.
The Huskers had uncharacteristic struggles on beam in their third rotation of the evening, finishing with a 48.800 on the evening. Lauer continued to display her prowess as a beam competitor, earning a 9.85 to lead the Big Red. DeZiel added a 9.825 on the night, and Skinner returned to the beam lineup for NU with a 9.80.
The Ilini posted a 48.625 on floor in the third rotation, led by Giana O'Connor's mark of 9.775. With only one event remaining, the Huskers led the meet by a score of 146.775-146.250.
Nebraska finished the night on floor, posting a 48.975. Schleppenbach and DeZiel led the way for the Big Red, posting identical scores of 9.85 to share the event title. Blanske added a 9.80, and Jennifer Lauer earned a 9.775.
Illinois finished the evening with a 48.975 on beam. Weinstein picked up a 9.800 to lead the Illini. The effort would not be enough to overcome the Huskers, and Nebraska took the 195.750-194.750 victory on the night.
Nebraska will continue their two-meet home stand next weekend, facing Penn State at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Sunday, Feb. 10. The match will begin at 2 p.m. CST and will be broadcast on tape delay by BTN. The meet will also be Pepsi Pack the House day, featuring $1 admission, popcorn and 24-oz. Pepsi products for fans in attendance. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at Huskers.com or by calling the Nebraska Ticket Office at 1-800-8BIG-RED.