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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Maybe some home cooking was all the Gators needed to get their season headed in the right direction.

After opening the season on the road, No. 7 UF defeated No. 8 Arkansas, 196.575 – 195.925 Friday night at the O’Connell Center.

The victory gave UF (1-1, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) its first win of the season after falling to Oklahoma last week, and gave Arkansas (1-1, 0-1 SEC) its first loss.

After scoring above 49 in just one event (vault) in their season-opener, the Gators tallied scores above 49 in every event on Friday night in front of a home crowd of 4,715.

They led off the evening on the vault, and scored a 49.25, capped off by freshman Ashanée Dickerson’s 9.925, which was good enough for first place.

Following the opening event, the team headed to the uneven bars, where they struggled against Oklahoma. This time, the team rebounded and put up a score of 49.075, despite an uncharacteristic fall by senior Amanda Castillo.

On the balance beam, the team scored a 49.05, bookended with 9.8s by senior Rebekah Zaiser and Dickerson.

Despite those scores, the Gators held just a .300-point advantage heading into the final rotation of the meet, where they were set to perform their floor exercises while the Razorbacks had their turn on the balance beam.

Freshman Liz Green led off for UF on floor exercise and scored a 9.8, followed by a 9.85 by sophomore Amy Ferguson. After errors by freshman Randy Stageberg, the team rebounded with its final three routines, including a 9.9 by Dickerson, to finish the floor exercises with a 49.2.

The 9.9 by Dickerson gave her an all-around total of 39.475 – the best total in the nation so far in this young season – and sealed her second consecutive all-around win.

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