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Feb. 6, 2010

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BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – The fourth-ranked South Carolina equestrian team fell 10-9 to No. 2 Auburn (7-2) on Saturday at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. Before the competition, the team held its Senior Day ceremony as the Gamecocks honored all eight seniors.

“This was a tough loss for us today,” head coach Boo Major said. “We rode very well for the most part, but we went up against one of the best teams in the country today, so give credit to Auburn’s riders for the way they rode this afternoon.”

In the Hunter Seat portion of Saturday’s competition, both teams tied 5-5 in total points, but Auburn won the raw score tiebreaker 706-703. In equitation, senior Carly Babcock defeated Auburn’s Maggie McAlary 88-77. Babcock is now 6-2 in equitation this season and she also picked up her third MVP honor in her last four competitions. The Gamecocks (4-4) also picked up a point from senior Alex Haskell, who defeated Chelsea Anheuser 70-69. Auburn won the event 3-2.

In equitation over fences, South Carolina picked up points from senior Nicole Bourgeois and freshmen Kimberly McCormack and Alex Arute. Bourgeois’ 81-79 victory over Auburn’s Grace Socha improved her record to 5-1 on the season to lead all Carolina jumpers. The Gamecocks won the event 3-2. Auburn’s Dottie Grubb was named MVP of the event.

In the Western portion of the competition, the Gamecocks fell 5-4 to Auburn. In Horsemanship, senior captain Emily Bookwalter turned in her fourth victory of the season for the Gamecocks, while picking up her second MVP honor of the season after her 73.5-72 victory over Auburn’s Amy Bohan. Carolina picked up its second point of the event from senior Amy Biffle, who won her ride with a score of 74.

Entering Reining, the Gamecocks trailed Auburn 8-7. Despite points from sophomore Annie McDonald and freshman Melissa Mull, the Tigers picked up two points from Lyndsey Jordan and Jillian Fuller, while junior Chloe Gray tied Auburn’s Jessica Jones 69.5-69.5, as Auburn held on for the overall win. Gray was named MVP of the event, her first MVP honor of the season. Gray now has a 6-2 record in Reining this season.

The Gamecocks return to action February 13 as the Hunter Seat team travels to Dallas, Texas to compete against SMU. The Western team will remain in Blythewood to host Ohio State in an exhibition beginning at 10 a.m.