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Oct. 11, 2013

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BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – South Carolina’s third-ranked equestrian team suffered its first loss of the season on Friday, as the Gamecocks dropped a 9-9 tiebreaker to No. 1 Georgia at One Wood Farm. South Carolina is now 4-1 overall and 0-1 in SEC play, while the Bulldogs improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play.

The hunt seat team dominated the Bulldogs on Friday, winning 7-3. But South Carolina’s western team struggled on the scoreboard, falling 6-2.

“Congratulations to a good Georgia team. They deserve their No. 1 ranking. We made way too many mental mistakes to come out on top today,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “A lot of our girls rode well but the mistakes made by others was impossible to overcome. We have to put it behind us and and start preparing for Texas A&M. We will learn from this and move on.”

Friday’s meet began in the jumping arena, where the Gamecocks dominated the Bulldogs, 4-1, in equitation over fences.

Junior Amber Henter won the first point of Friday’s meet, defeating Kylee Arbuckle, 81-80. Junior Alexa Anthony followed with a 78-77 victory over Georgia’s Olivia Dorey. The Bulldogs won their lone point of the event, when Sarah Milliren held on for a five point victory over Samantha Kraus. Sophomore Samantha Smith won her ninth point of the season, when she knocked off the Bulldogs’ Abby O’Mara, 84-82. Junior Katherine Schmidt won her first of two points on the day with a 79-74 win over Megan Southam, earning Schmidt her fourth MVP of the season.

In the reining arena, Georgia rallied, winning the event, 3-1. The Bulldogs swept the first three points, but Gamecock junior Cody McMillion posted the best ride of the event, earning MVP honors with a 73.5-72 victory over Lauren Garmon. Senior Johnna Letchworth and Georgia’s Lindsey Cheek tied their head-to-head, 73.5-73.5.

The Gamecocks led Georgia, 5-4, at the halfway point of Friday’s meet. But the Bulldogs rallied in the second half, winning five of the final nine points, forcing a 9-9, tiebreaker, that Georgia would go on to win, 1,608-1,582.3.

In equitation on the flat, Carolina won three-of-five points, as both Anthony and Schmidt went 2-for-2 for the Gamecocks. Senior Kelsey Hart scored the first point, knocking off Leylan Gleeson, 77-70. Anthony followed with a 72-69 victory over Southam, and then Georgia would go on to win the next two points, 73-72, and 79-75. Schmidt gave the Gamecocks an 8-6 lead when she won her flat point, 76-74, over Olivia Dorey.

Holding a two-point lead with the second round of horsemanship about to begin, the Gamecocks needed just two points to win the meet outright.

Georgia started strong, winning the first three points to take a 9-8 lead, their first lead of the day. Junior Sam Chiodo and Georgia’s Sara Parr rode to a 75-75 tie, and then senior Alison Ceresani won her point, 75.5-74, to force the tiebreaker.

Having competed for four straight weekends, the Gamecocks have next weekend off, but return to action on Oct. 25, when South Carolina travels to Texas A&M.