No. 15 Cal women’s gymnastics shouldn’t struggle at home against Arizona State

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Rachael Garner/File

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Just three weeks into the season, No. 15 Cal women’s gymnastics has already claimed victory against six different teams. Last week, it beat No. 19 Washington and San Jose State in a tri-meet at home in very comfortable fashion. The Bears now look ahead to the next challenge to their perfect season record, which comes to Haas Pavilion this Saturday in the form of Arizona State.

If one thing has stood out for the Bears throughout the season, it has been a notable degree of consistency on balance beam. Cal has managed to sweep the event in two of its three meets so far, largely because of the impressive season-long performance by senior Desiree Palomares. Palomares is riding a streak of beam victories, which was most recently highlighted by her career-high score of 9.90 against Washington and San Jose State.

“It’s kind of a fragile event, but we want them to attack it the same way they would attack a vault, and I think they’ve been doing that,” said Cal head coach Justin Howell.

Palomares’ success on beam is certainly not unprecedented –– during her junior season in 2016, she hit every one of her 13 beam routines.

As for floor, Junior Toni-Ann Williams has been a more than solid presence in the lineup throughout the season. She too captured her third consecutive title on floor on Saturday with a score of 9.90, in addition to the vault title. Williams was named Pac-12 Specialist of the Week for her commendable performance on floor all season.

After Saturday’s tri-meet, however, Howell expressed disappointment with the team’s overall performance on floor. Palomares turned in a 9.650, and freshman Cassidy Keelen scored 9.325. Regardless, the Bears managed to record a respectable team score of 48.900 on the event with the help of a pair of 9.825s from freshman Alexandra Dudschus as well as senior Charlie Owens.

“Although it may have looked like we were consistent (on floor), we had some major errors that, honestly, we need to clean up,” Howell said.

Another Cal standout to keep an eye on is junior Arianna Robinson, who has placed first or second on vault in all three of the Bears’ meets this season.

Arizona State enters the weekend’s meet averaging a mere 192.767 to Cal’s 15th-ranked 195.725. The Sun Devils have shown the most consistency on vault, but they are still averaging nearly a full point lower on the event than the Bears. Arizona State has not recorded a single event score topping 49 points, while Cal has done so five times.

Numbers don’t lie, and it appears that if the Bears can continue posting the types of scores they have been all season, a win against the Sun Devils should be in the books. On top of that, Cal is riding a winning streak into this weekend, while Arizona State has looked shaky coming out of the gate.

With the Bears performing on their own turf, they are in a solid position to bring down the Sun Devils this weekend.

Adriana Ghiozzi covers women’s gymnastics. Contact her at [email protected].