Feb. 28, 2015
|#4 Auburn (4-5, 1-4 SEC)
|#2 S. Carolina (8-3, 4-2 SEC)
BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – No. 2 South Carolina wrapped up its SEC schedule on Saturday, defeating fourth-ranked Auburn, 11-7, at One Wood Farm. South Carolina improves to 8-3 overall and 4-2 in SEC play, while Auburn, who never held the lead on Saturday, falls to 4-5 overall and 1-4 in SEC play.
“This was a great team win today and a great win for our senior class,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “Our western team rode lights out today against a very talented Auburn team and I think that was the difference. We were very honored to have Dr. Pastides come out this morning and be a part of our Senior Day ceremony, we also received a very generous donation to our program from the Horry County Gamecock Club, and we had a great turnout today which made this win even better. After a disappointing performance at Texas A&M last week, I have to give all of our girls credit for coming back on a short week of practice and earning a big SEC win today.”
The Gamecocks won three-of-five reining points to jump out to an early 3-2 lead on Saturday. Freshman Paisley Roberts gave the Gamecocks an early 1-0 lead after she beat Hailey Munger, 63.5-61.5. Auburn won the next point but Carolina junior Sarah Bouchard posted a 69-62.5 win over Griffin Knight, her sixth win of the season and third at home. After Auburn tied the meet at two apiece, senior Layla Choate improved to 8-1 on the season when she defeated Auburn’s Allie Dusha, 68.5-67.
“Our reining team got us off to a great start today,” Major said. “Last week we got a little bit shell-shocked in College Station, but they had a very productive week of practice and I think it showed today. Very proud of them for rebounding this morning and getting the job done.”
South Carolina and Auburn both went on to win two points apiece in equitation over fences, as the Gamecocks held a 5-4 lead at the halfway point of Saturday’s meet.
Redshirt sophomore Sydney Smith won the first jumping point to give the Gamecocks a 4-2 lead when she knocked off Auburn’s Megan Bifano, 79-72. But the Tigers won back-to-back points to tie the meet at 4-4. After senior Amber Henter held Auburn’s Ashley Foster to a 78-78 tie, Katherine Schmidt won her 24th career MVP with an event-high score 85 to cruise by the Tigers’ Demi Stiegler by 17 points.
“Traditionally, Auburn has always been a strong hunt seat team and I thought they’re girls rode very well. I was very happy for Sydney and Katherine who both looked great out there. I still think we have some improving to do and I think we’ll work on being a little more prepared for some of the different scenarios that we’ll face.”
Leading 5-4 as the second half of Saturday’s meet got underway, South Carolina dominated the Tigers, winning horsemanship and equitation on the flat by a combined score of 6-3.
“We had some issues on the flat today, I think we overrode a little bit and that was my fault,” Major said. “On the other side, our horsemanship team won 4-0 and I don’t think you can get much better than that. They did what we needed them to do in order for us to win.”
In the flat ring, Auburn won three-of-five points over the Gamecocks. Henter finished her undefeated day with a 63-55 win over Tory Hoft, and fellow senior Adele Norton earned her fourth MVP of the season with an event-high score 71 to defeat Auburn’s Stiegler by 17-points.
Carolina’s horsemanship team led the Gamecocks by winning four points on Saturday. Sophomore Bailey Mierzejewski earned a 74.5-69 win over Auburn’s Knight, followed by Abigail Pait defeating Lucy Igoe, 73-71. After Sam Chiodo held Auburn’s Hannah Stephens to a 72-72 tie, the Gamecocks got back-to-back points from freshman Megan Overberg and Kelsey Urban. Overberg tallied a 74.5-68.5 victory over Katie Buff, and Urban won her second MVP of the season with a 76.5-74.5 win over Hannah Loseke.
South Carolina closes out the regular season on Friday, March 6 when the Gamecocks host No. 1 Baylor at One Wood Farm. Friday’s meet will begin at 1 p.m. ET and admission is free.