March 5, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Just days after taking on then No. 5 Auburn and then traveling to Pennsylvania to take on Big-10 powers Penn State and Ohio State in the same weekend, the No. 5 ranked Alabama Gymnastics team returns to Coleman Coliseum this Friday to face No. 3 Stanford.
"The schedule just doesn't get any easier," Alabama head coach Sarah Patterson said. "We have been challenged every week because our schedule is filled with the nation's top teams. By the time we get to regionals and the national championships, we won't be looking over our shoulder because we have faced very tough competition every week."
Stanford is the fifth top-5 and the tenth top-20 team Alabama has faced since the season began in early January. Both teams were part of last year's NCAA Super Six Team Final where Stanford finished third and Alabama took sixth. The Pac-10 contender is led by Carly Janiga who is ranked fourth on the uneven bars and 10th on the balance beam.
Alabama is coming off its best meets of the season. The Tide scored a season high 197.350, the fourth highest total in the country this year, last weekend against Auburn. It also posted season high scores on the vault, uneven bars and floor exercise. Junior Morgan Dennis posted a career-high 39.725 in the all-around to pace the Tide against the Tigers.
At Penn State, the Tide posted its highest road tally of the season, including its best balance beam score. Freshman Ashley Priess had such a good weekend, putting up career-best all-around scores in back-to-back meets, that she was named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week for the third time this season.
In addition to being a top-5 showdown, this Friday is also "Academic Achievement" night in Coleman Coliseum as well as a celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday. Fans can bring a book to the meet to receive free admission and Tuscaloosa City and County A/B Honor Roll students will receive admission for two to this meet. Students will receive their vouchers from their teachers and will turn them in for tickets at the meet.
The meet begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) located in the lobby of the coliseum or online at RollTide.com.