Florida stumbles against SEC rival Alabama

Florida senior Mackenzie Caquatto scored a 9.9 for her routine on the uneven bars during the Gators' loss at Alabama on Friday. (Michelle Lepianka Carter / Halifax Media Services)

Published: Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 28, 2014 at 11:18 p.m.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Florida gymnastics team suffered its first loss of the season Friday night at the hands of Southeastern Conference rival Alabama. The fourth-ranked Crimson Tide defeated the No. 3 Gators 197.675 to 197.4 inside Coleman Coliseum.

Florida dropped to 7-1 on the season and 5-1 in SEC competition.

“I think this was a really positive experience, and (the gymnasts are) only going to get better from it and learn from it,” Florida coach Rhonda Faehn said. “I feel like we didn't attack as aggressively as possible, some really phenomenal routines. But I thought, all-in-all, in places we looked really tense on the floor.”

Despite its first loss of the 2014 season, Florida sophomore Bridget Sloan posted impressive scores on three events and won the meet's all-around award with a 39.5.

Sloan led the Gators in their first rotation on uneven parallel bars with a score of 9.925. Florida posted a 49.425 on uneven bars, surpassing its season average of 49.375. Mackenzie Caquatto scored a 9.9.

Sloan paced Florida in its second rotation too, scoring a 9.95 on vault to lead the Gators to another 49.425 score. Alaina Johnson posted a 9.9.

Sloan, yet again, led the way for Florida in its third event, posting a 9.925 on floor exercise. The Gators compiled a score of 49.4. Johnson and Kytra Hunter tacked on scores of 9.9.

Sloan's performance earned the praise from her head coach.

“Bridget has really grown so much, just even from the start of her freshman year,” Faehn said. “She's really become a really strong leader out on the competition floor.”

The Florida gymnasts could not seem to get things going on balance beam, its final event of the night. The Gators earned a 49.15 on beam, while Caquatto scored a 9.925. But a few wobbles kept Florida from closing the meet out against the Crimson Tide.

The Gators will next host the West Virginia Mountaineers on Friday at 7 p.m.

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