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Feb. 7, 2009

AUBURN, Ala. – One week after defeating No. 2 Texas A&M 13-7 at home, the seventh-ranked South Carolina equestrian team traveled to top-ranked Auburn and handed the Tigers to their first loss of the season, 10-8. The Gamecocks earned MVP rides from Megan Massaro over fences, Victoria Middleton on the flat and Chloe Gray in reining as Carolina won its third consecutive meet to start the spring season.

Carolina evens its overall record to 4-4 on the year while the Tigers fall to 4-1. The Hunter Seat team and Western team both won 5-4 as the Hunter Seat team improves to 4-4 on the year and the Western team improves to 3-5. The Gamecock avenged a 10-6 loss to Auburn at home earlier this year (Oct. 4).

“It is always difficult to get a road win in equestrian,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “We are thrilled to have gotten a road win against the number one team. Both hunt seat and western teams rode very well with very few mistakes which is what we have been preaching. They were relaxed and focussed and there was a great team spirit among us which was great. Congrtulations to Coach Schwartz and Coach Sorrel for all their efforts.”

Massaro earned her fourth MVP ride of the year over fences courtesy of a 92-80 win against Jessica Braswell. Rachel Koggan defeated Grace Socha 9-85 to earn the point while Nicole Bourgeois’s 85-80 win against Dottie Grubb gave Carolina a 3-2 edge over fences. In equitation on the flat, Massaro improved to 5-1 with an 83-79 win against Rebecca Rifkin. Middleton earned her second MVP of the year with a 91-88 win against Ali Loprete. Junior Carly Babcock continues her undefeated season after earning a tie (86-86) with Chelsea Anheuser, moving Babcock to 4-0-2 on the year.

The Western team claimed its 5-4 win with three points in horsemanship and two in reining. Gray earned MVP honors in reining with a close 72-71.5 victory, giving the sophomore her first MVP ride of the season. Hailey Thornton also scored a 72 with a five-point win for her first victory of the year in reining. In horsemanship, Emily Bookwatlter, Katie Grossnickle and Maggie Fortune all earned wins for the Gamecocks. Grossnickle improves to 6-1-1 on the year after her 68-67.5 win against Shannon Hinton. Bookwalter registered a 71-70 win against Kylie Miller while Maggie Fortune rode to a 69.5-68 win. Thornton tied 74-74 in her ride as Carolina’s high point scorer in horsemanship.

Carolina will get next weekend off before hosting Sacred Heart (Feb. 20) and Georgia (Feb. 21) on back-to-back days.