TEMPE, Ariz. — The No. 4-ranked Utah gymnasts posted their best road score of the season to beat Arizona State 196.475-195.700 in Wells Fargo Arena on Friday night.
Senior Daria Bijak earned her third-straight all-around victory to lead the Utes (4-1), who overcame a first-event deficit for the first time this season.
"I thought we took a step forward," said Utah co-coach Greg Marsden. "We did a good job of accomplishing the things we worked on this week." Among them was "being more involved in each other's routines and bringing our own energy," Marsden said.
The Utes also successfully tinkered with the lineup in places. One move was made last night when Bijak informed the coaches that she was ready to vacate her leadoff position on the vault in favor of moving deeper in the lineup (she has been going first because she gets cold). Stephanie McAllister, on the other hand, learned just seconds before the vault competition that she would be leading off on that event.
"We have some options now and I am going to have to use my gut each week to determine who is in the lineup in some places," said Marsden. "Daria told me she was ready to move down in the vault lineup so we put her at No. 2. Next week, we'll try to move her from two to three. I don't know if we can get her to move much past that," he trailed off.
Bijak's winning 39.40 all-around score tied her season high and she won bars with a season-high 9.90. McAllister was a surprise all-around entry for the second straight week and she may have earned a full-time position after posting a career-high 39.175.
Other event winners for the Utes were Robarts on vault (9.925) and DiLuzio on floor (9.875). It was the fourth-straight vault victory for Robarts, while DiLuzio earned her third win on floor in five meets.
Arizona State led briefly, scoring a 49.025 on the vault to Utah's 48.975 on bars. Jacquelyn Johnson replaced Robarts as the bar leadoff and started the night off with a 9.75. Bijak's season-best 9.90 highlighted a set that also featured a career-high 9.85 from McAllister.
The second-highest vault score of the year by the Utes-a 49.250-combined with a 48.850 dip by the Sun Devils on the bars, put Utah ahead 98.225-97.875 at the midpoint. Big scores came at the end, where a picture perfect looking vault by Robarts received a 9.925 after DiLuzio hit for a season-best 9.875. The juggling in the front of the lineup paid dividends as well, with McAllister scoring 9.80 and Bijak a 9.825.
Utah expanded its lead in round three with a 49.100 floor score, and took a 147.325-146.675 advantage. The back half of the lineup really came to play, with Bijak (9.85), Robarts (9.85) and DiLuzio (9.90) turning in big routines. On this event, too, the Utes toyed with the lineup. Katelyn Mohr led off the set and an otherwise solid routine earned a 9.60 due a tenth deduction for a step out of bounds.
In the finale, Utah really turned it on, posting a 49.150 that included a career-tying 9.875 from DiLuzi, matching her score last week at Washington. Following DiLuzio, Deetscreek scored a 9.85 and Bijak and Robarts both landed 9.825s.
Utah hosts Utah State next Friday in the Huntsman Center.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company