Coming off two consecutive quad meet victories to start the season, the No. 10 Stanford women's gymnastics team knew it would take its best effort to win at No. 9 Georgia -- a place the team had not won in six tries.
Despite standout performances from Amanda Spinner and Nicole Dayton, the Cardinal was unable to capture its first victory in Athens, Ga., losing to the Gym Dogs 195.400-197.000. It marked the first loss of the season for Stanford which is now 6-1, while Georgia improves to 3-1.
The meet started on a bit of a rough note when sophomore Ivana Hong, who was slated to compete in the all-around, had an issue with one of her routines in warmups. Head coach Kristen Smyth decided to rest Hong for the meet, opening a lineup spot on each event.
Smyth was happy with how her team responded to the last minute changes and the performances the athletes who stepped in provided.
"The nice thing is we have a lot of depth and people really stepped up and filled the roles that needed to be filled today," Smyth said.
Stanford's meet was highlighted by junior All-American Amanda Spinner's balance beam performance that scored a 9.925. It is a career-best for the team's co-captain and is the highest beam score for the Cardinal on the season.
"Amanda was lights out on beam, she had a great day," Smyth said. "She is definitely a rock for us and performed a beautiful routine."
Spinner's previous career-best was 9.900, which she scored in five consecutive meets in 2012 before finishing fourth at the NCAA Individual Finals.
Stanford's beam team was the most consistent of all the events and was the only event the Cardinal outscored Georgia (49.050-48.825). Sophomore Kristina Vaculik and senior Ashley Morgan finished tied for fifth with scores of 9.800.
Morgan continued to be a staple for Stanford and delivered solid routines throughout the competition. The All-American was the only gymnast in the meet to compete in the all-around and finished with a score of 39.225.
Morgan led the team on uneven bars, along with sophomore Samantha Shapiro, both scoring 9.850.
The Cardinal was anchored on bars by Spinner who recorded a 9.725 in her first collegiate appearance on the event. It was an important performance for Stanford, as they had a fall earlier in the bars lineup and needed Spinner to finish the event strong.
"I was really proud of Amanda stepping in on bars," Smyth said. "She competed with poise and confidence and really rose to the occasion."
Stanford was again led on vault by senior Nicole Dayton who claimed her third consecutive individual vault title of the year, tying Georgia junior Lindsey Cheek with a score of 9.925. Dayton surpassed her total number of individual first-place finishes from 2012 (two) in her first three meets of the 2013 season.
Freshman Melissa Chuang also continued to impress on vault, contributing Stanford's second-highest score of 9.825. The three-time Junior Olympic qualifier has competed on vault in all three meets for the Cardinal, scoring at least a 9.775 in each competition.
Chuang also recorded the second-highest score on floor exercise with a career-best of 9.825. Stanford was led on floor by a terrific performance from sophomore Pauline Hanset, who finished third with a 9.875 -- tying her career-best.
"It was the best routine I've seen Pauline do since she's been at Stanford," Smyth said.
Despite the individual standout performances, Stanford had some difficulty getting going as a team, something Smyth wants to see improved as the season continues.
"Overall it wasn't a strong team effort, there were some good individual performances, but as a group we are capable of a lot more," Smyth said. "So we're going to get back into the gym, work hard and focus on getting a little better every day."
Stanford will have a quick turnaround with its next meet less than a week away at Pac-12 opponent No. 21 California. The meet will take place on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. PT at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley.
Stanford wide receiver Jamal-Rashad Patterson had eight catches for 80 yards in a losing effort as the National team toppled the American squad, 34-0, in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Carson.
No. 10 Stanford concluded weekend play at the Sherwood Cup, with several players producing solid performances in the opening tournament of the spring season.
Highlighting the action was Robert Stineman advancing to the singles championship match of the consolation draw. However, the final against USC's Michael Grant was not played.
The title match of the consolation doubles draw featured an all-Stanford affair. The teams of Matt Kandath and John Morrissey will square off against Daniel Ho and Denis Lin in match to be played Tuesday at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.