After a week delay, Kentucky began their 2022 season with a bang, as they defeated the Ball State Cardinals 196.525-194.750 on Excite Night in Rupp Arena.
Kentucky faced a short-notice challenge from Ball State, as the Cats original opponent Georgia had to pull-out of the meet due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Wildcats were led by Raena Worley’s all-around score of 39.650. She also had the leading score in all four of Friday night’s events.
Kentucky dominated the leaderboard in all four events. Starting with the vault, the Wildcats were led by Worley, who scored an impressive 9.9. Followed by Cally Nixon and Makenzie Wilson, who both put up 9.825. These three led Kentucky to gain a slight early lead over Ball State.
Kentucky showed out on the uneven parallel bars, as all Wildcats put up a score of 9.8 or higher. This gave the Wildcats their best score of the night (49.275).
A few low scores from the Cardinals on the vault gave Kentucky another advantage. Even with their lowest score of the match (48.875), the Wildcats still managed to outscore the Cardinals in their third routine of the night.
Worley and Josie Angeny finished with high scores of 9.875 and 9.800.After struggling on the beam, Bailey Bunn redeemed herself with her floor routine. She earned a score of 9.775. Worley and Hailey Davis both recorded a score of 9.925, which helped the Cats secure the win over the Cardinals.
Though she was extremely vital in the team’s win tonight, Worley knows this is just the beginning.
“Nationals all around,” Worley said when asked what the goal was for the team this season. “The whole team to get to nationals…that would be such an amazing experience for all of us.”
Next up, the Wildcats will head to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to face the No. 11 Alabama Crimson Tide on Friday, Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m. E.T. The meet will be available to watch on SEC Network as the Wildcats look to improve to 2-0 on the young season.