Illinois propels past Arizona State
Joannides clinched the all-around title with a season-high 39.350
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The No. 18 Fighting Illini used a season-high 49.200 on floor to take the lead against No. 25 Arizona State, and senior Kelsey Joannides sealed the season-best 195.775-195.525 victory with a 9.900 on beam to earn the top spot in the team's final performance of the afternoon. Joannides' stellar beam routine also clinched the all-around title with a season-high 39.350 while she also won on vault (9.850) to total three titles in Tempe.
"Today was a great step," head coach Kim Landrus said. "We started the second half of the season strong, but if we are going to be a top team, we need to continue to build from here. We talked about being tougher after Friday's meet and correcting those minor mistakes. They took it to heart and put everything together to come away with a great performance on the road today."
The Orange and Blue trailed ASU 97.725-97.600 entering the third rotation, but four scores of 9.825 or higher on floor vaulted the Illini back in front of the Sun Devils. Junior Alina Weinstein, who won the first floor title of her career by tying for first, paced the effort with a personal-best 9.900 while sophomore Amber See took third with a 9.875. Joannides tied for fourth at 9.850, Gill matched a career high with a 9.825 and sophomore Sarah Fiedler added a 9.750.
"The floor team just went in there and did their job," Landrus said. "They did what they do in practice and showed what they are truly capable of."
On the final event at Wells Fargo Arena, Illinois hit five routines on beam to complete its third win with a season-high team total. Joannides equaled a career high with her 9.900 while Weinstein tied for second at 9.800. Sophomore Elizabeth McNabb had a 9.775 followed by a 9.750 from Fiedler and a 9.725 by See.
In the opening event of the afternoon, Illinois turned in a 48.875 on uneven bars, led by a runner-up finish from junior Jaclyn Kantecki with a 9.825. Fiedler finished fourth at 9.800 while Joannides, Weinstein and McNabb each tied for fifth with a 9.750.
During the second rotation, the Illini recorded their second-best vault score of the season with a 48.750. Joannides equaled a season-high 9.850 to place first, marking her second crown on the event this year. Weinstein's 9.775 tied for third while Gill (9.750), See (9.725) and Kantecki (9.650) rounded out the scoring.
Joannides and Weinstein both finished in the top five on all four events and went one-two in the all-around. Joannides, who battled the flu throughout the week and only competed on two events during the tie against Michigan State on Friday, bounced back to win her third all-around title of the year while Weinstein tied ASU's Beate Jones for second with a 39.225.
"I can't say enough about how Kelsey performed," Landrus said. "She's been battling the flu all week but felt better today, so we had her go on all four events. She came through just how she always does. Alina is a really talented gymnast and today she was on top of her game."