No. 16 Illinois wins third consecutive
Buckley’s top-four performances help win fourth all-around title
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- No. 16 Illinois won its third meet in a row on Friday night, topping the Missouri Tigers 195.400-195.000 at the Hearnes Center. Senior Allison Buckley captured the vault and all-around titles while senior Melissa Fernandez took the top spot on balance beam, as the Illini hit 24 of 24 routines overall.
"It was great to keep the momentum going tonight," interim head coach Kim Landrus said. "We talk about how every meet is just another step to our ultimate goal and just keep concentrating on one routine at a time each weekend."
The Orange and Blue held the advantage on beam (48.800-48.425) and floor (48.800-48.675) and tied the Tigers on bars with a season-high 48.925, but were edged by a tenth of a point on vault (48.875-48.975). Buckley finished among the top four on all four events on her way to her fourth all-around victory of the season with a total of 39.250. The Schaumburg, Ill., native became just the second Illini ever to record over 50 career event titles, as she increased her total to 51, just seven behind Nancy Theis' all-time record of 58.
Illinois began the night with its best bars performance of the year, tallying a 48.925. Buckley and Fernandez tied for third at 9.825 while freshman Sarah Fiedler posted a personal-best mark of 9.800 to finish fifth. Sophomore Alina Weinstein added a 9.750 and fellow sophomores Jaclyn Kantecki and Macy Hyatt turned in scores of 9.725, which marked Hyatt's first time in the bar lineup.
"The bar team did a great job of leading us off," Landrus said. "Macy performed like she does every day in practice, and I couldn't be more proud of how she competed in her first collegiate routine for the team."
In the night's second rotation, the Illini turned in their second-best vault score of the season with a 48.875. Buckley tied for first with a 9.875 to match her season high and earn her second vault crown of the year. Junior Kelsey Joannides came in fourth at 9.825 and was followed in the standings by freshman Amber See at 9.750 and Weinstein at 9.725.
On floor exercise, Illinois scored a 48.800, with Buckley leading the way in third at 9.825. Senior Samantha Perino matched a season high with a 9.775 to tie See for fourth. Joannides' 9.725 and Weinstein's 9.700 rounded out the scoring on the event.
The Illini wrapped up the night on balance beam, with Fernandez's 9.850 ranking as the top score of the meet. Perino was the runner-up with a season-high 9.775 while Buckley, Fiedler and Weinstein tied for fourth at 9.725.