By (Ben Stansell)

Despite posting a season-best score, No. 9 Alabama was unable to overcome No. 5 Florida in Gainesville on Friday night, losing 197.850 – 197.075.

“I’m so proud of the fight this team displayed, coming back with five hit routines after starting the meet with a fall in our first routine on the uneven bars,” Alabama coach Dana Duckworth said in a press release. “Then we closed out strong to get another 197 score. Knowing that there is still more to improve on is so exciting.”

The Crimson Tide surged to a season high score behind its best performance of the season on vault, a 49.250. Senior Nickie Guerrero set the tone for Alabama on vault by posting a 9.9.

Senior Kiana Winston made her season debut on vault and in all-around competition against the Gators.

Guerrero not only impressed on vault, she also scored a 9.9 on floor exercise and a 9.95 on balance beam that Duckworth described as “one of the finest balance beam routines I’ve seen her do.”

Alabama posted a 49.35 on the uneven bars, led by senior Mackenzie Brannan and Winston who each posted 9.9s.

On balance beam, Alabama recorded a 49.275. Sophomore Peyton Ernst, who transferred to Alabama after one season at Florida, posted a career high 9.9 in her return to Gainesville.

The Crimson Tide recorded a 49.2 on floor exercise behind Guerrero’s 9.9. Freshman Alonza Klopfer made her career debut on floor and scored a 9.775.

“There were so many ‘one-percent better’ moments tonight and that’s what we talked about all week,” Duckworth said. “There were so many building blocks out there tonight.

Alabama will return to Coleman Coliseum for its next meet against the Kentucky Wildcats on Friday, Feb. 16.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports