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April 17, 2015

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WACO, Texas – No. 3 South Carolina made quick work of United Equestrian Conference champion Fresno State on Friday, as the Gamecocks defeated the sixth-ranked Bulldogs, 12-4, in the quarterfinals of the NCEA National Championship. South Carolina advances to Saturday’s semifinal round, where the Gamecocks will face No. 2 seed beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET at the Extraco Events Center.

“This was certainly a great way to start things off in Waco,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major. “I was very impressed with all four events and I think everyone did their part to help us win today. The bar raises tomorrow with us facing another conference champion in Baylor, and I think we saw some areas today where we can improve as we get ready for Saturday. This is a very special group and I believe in all of them. I know they believe in each other and I hope we come out ready to go tomorrow.

South Carolina wasted no time on Friday, jumping out to a 4-0 lead after sweeping all four points in equitation on the flat. Samantha Smith won the first point of the meet, dropping Fresno State’s Randi Pomrehn, 152-136. Senior Katherine Schmidt followed with a 179-162 win over Kara Spicer, the first of her two points on the day. Adele Norton gave Carolina a 3-0 lead when she beat Kylina Chalack, 158-150. Senior Amber Henter closed out the flat and won her first of two points on Friday with a 162-156 victory over Sierra Swaffer.

“It was important for us to start today’s meet off strong and our flat team really did that,” Major said. “It’s what you expect out of four experienced riders in the lineup and I thought they rode lights out today.”

In the western arena, the Gamecocks and Bulldogs each won two points apiece in reining. Senior Cody McMillion opened the event with a 132-129 victory over Fresno’s Brigid O’Leary. The Bulldogs won the next two points to cut South Carolina’s lead to 5-2, but a scoring review by the judges resulted in a victory for freshman Paisley Roberts, who defeated Bulldog rider Ciara Kozlowski, 130.5-0 in her nationals debut.

“Fresno State has a great reining team as we saw back in November,” Major said. “I thought it was good to see Paisley get her first point at nationals, and as we head in to tomorrow, we have two seniors and a junior that have plenty of nationals experience under the belts and I know they’ll be ready to go.”

In the jumping arena, South Carolina swept Fresno State 4-0 to shutout the Bulldogs in the hunt seat portion of Friday’s meet. Smith, Schmidt, and Henter all won their jumping points, giving the Gamecocks a 10-2 lead after three events. Smith opened the jumping with a 156.5-138 victory over Fresno State’s Spicer. Redshirt sophomore Sydney Smith won in her nationals debut, defeating Fresno’s Chalack, 137-120. Schmidt finished off her perfect 2-for-2 day by winning her 99th career point, as she defeated Fresno State’s Pomrehn, 175-164. Henter closed out the jumping with a 175-132 victory over the Bulldogs’ Swaffer.

“The fences team was firing on all cylinders today as was our entire hunt seat team quite frankly,” Major said. “Sydney Smith won her first point at nationals which is always nice, and coach Dobbs also picked up her first nationals win so I know she’s really happy with those results.”

The Gamecocks and Bulldogs each won a pair of points in horsemanship. After Fresno State won the first two horsemanship points, senior Sam Chiodo and Megan Overberg won back-to-back points to close out the meet. Chiodo posted an event-high score 148.5 to beat Fresno State’s Kirsten McKillop by three points, Overberg won in her nationals debut, knocking off Bulldog rider Taylor Dixon, 145.5-135.

Saturday’s semifinal competition will begin at 9:30 a.m. ET. The winner will advance to the championship competition on Saturday afternoon against the Georgia/Auburn winner.

South Carolina-Fresno State Play-by-Play
1-0 : Samantha Smith defeats Randi Pomrehn, 152-136, on Carmeline.
2-0 : Katherine Schmidt defeats Kara Spicer, 179-162, on Mojo.
3-0 : Adele Norton defeats Kylina Chalack, 158-150, on Fleet.
4-0 : Amber Henter defeats Sierra Swaffer, 162-156, on Capistrano.
5-0 : Cody McMillion defeats Brigid O’Leary, 132-129, on Polly.
5-1 : Kirsten McKillop defeats Sarah Bouchard, 139-133.5, on Montoya.
5-2 : Taylor Brown defeats Layla Choate, 138.5-138, on Cherry.
6-2 : Paisley Roberts defeats Ciara Kozlowski, 130.5-0, on Buddy.
7-2 : Samantha Smith defeats Kara Spicer, 156.5-138, on Carerra.
8-2 : Sydney Smith defeats Kylina Chalack, 137-120, on Spot.
9-2 : Katherine Schmidt defeats Randi Pomrehn, 175-164, on Riant.
10-2 : Amber Henter defeats Sierra Swaffer, 175-132, on Oakley.
10-3 : Taylor Brown defeats Abigail Pait, 145-143, on Copper.
10-4 : Rachel Williams defeats Bailey Mierzejewski, 137-131.5, on Ed.
11-4 : Sam Chiodo defeats Kirsten McKillop, 148.5-145, on Ice Cube.
12-4 : Megan Overberg defeats Taylor Dixon, 145.5-135, on Peppy.