March 27, 2015
|Texas A&M (8-5, 3-3 SEC)
|South Carolina (9-4, 4-2 SEC)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – No. 1 South Carolina dropped its SEC Championship semifinal competition to Texas A&M, 11-7, on Friday at the Thomas G. Hildebrand Equine Complex. The Gamecocks fall to 9-4 overall, while the Aggies improve to 8-5.
South Carolina will now face Auburn in the third place meet on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.
“I’m obviously disappointed in the result but certainly not in the way we competed today,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “Texas A&M came out and competed with great intensity, and I feel like our girls did as well, but the cards didn’t fall for us where we needed them to today. We have a few issues on the flat that we need to work on as a team, but as a whole, I thought our girls rode tremendously well today and I’m very proud of them.”
In the western arena, Texas A&M’s reining team gave the Aggies an early lead after winning the event, 3-2. Texas A&M won the first point of the meet, but sophomore Kara Guertin defeated Logan Pluhar, 136-134, to even the score at one apiece. The Aggies took a 2-1 lead on the following ride, but senior Layla Choate beat Hannah Jechow, 143-140.5 to win her 10th point of the season while also earning MVP honors. The Aggies claimed their third reining point of the meet in a re-ride to give A&M the 3-2 edge.
In the hunt seat arena, the Aggies picked up another 3-2 win in equitation over fences to take 5-4 lead over the Gamecocks. Senior captain Amber Henter gave South Carolina an early 3-2 lead when she beat Anna Rea, 153-115, but the Aggies won back-to-back points to re-take a 4-3 lead. Samantha Smith evened the score at 4-4 when she posted a 150-133 victory over Marlena Parker, but the Aggies won the final flat point to take a 5-4 lead.
The Gamecocks and Aggies kicked off the second half of the meet riding to a 2-2 tie in equitation over fences. After redshirt sophomore Sydney Smith held Marlena Parker to a 158-158 tie, Henter finished off her 2-for-2 day with a 168-148 victory over Haley Webster. The Aggies won back-to-back points to take an 8-5 lead, but Gamecock senior Katherine Schmidt cut A&M’s lead to two points when she knocked off Leah Chenelle, 166-153.
Texas A&M pulled away in horsemanship, winning the event 3-1 to send the Aggies to the SEC Championship meet for the first time in school history. Kelsey Urban won South Carolina’s lone horsemanship, knocking off Kaci Fisher, 143-.5-133.5.
The Gamecocks and Tigers will compete in the third place on Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.