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Feb. 20, 2016

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BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – No. 9 South Carolina overcame a four-point deficit to take the lead late in Saturday’s meet against Texas A&M, but the Aggies won three of the final four points to pull ahead for the 10-9 victory. The Gamecocks fall to 3-7 overall and 0-5 in SEC play, while the Aggies improve to 8-2 overall and 3-2 in league play.

“We’re all disappointed because we lost a meet today that we thought we could have won,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. “We got behind early, and allowed them to build on their lead in the jumping, and despite a tremendous performance by our horsemanship team, we came up a little short. We made a lot of strides in terms of some individual performances from our meet two weeks ago, but we still have some areas we need to improve on, and that’ll be important for us to do as we get ready to enter the final two months of the season.”

The Gamecocks won the first point of Saturday’s meet when freshman Madison Thiel opened reining with a 66.5-66 win over Hannah Jechow. The Aggies went on to win the next four points to give A&M an early 4-1 lead.

In the jumping arena, the Aggies won 3-of-5 points to take a four point lead heading in to the second half of Saturday’s meet. In her final jumping ride at home, senior Samantha Smith edged Texas A&M’s Marlena Parker, 85-84, and was named Most Outstanding Performer. The Aggies won back-to-back points before Chloe Schmidt picked up an 80-65 win over Rachael Hake. Texas A&M won the final jumping point, jumping out to a 7-3 lead.

The Gamecocks turned their four-point deficit in to a one point lead in the horsemanship ring, as Carolina won all five points to take an 8-7 lead. Bailey Mierzejewski, Ashley Reichert, Abigail Pait, Megan Overberg, and Courtney Allen all won their points to erase Texas A&M’s lead and put Carolina ahead by one. Pait picked up a 73.5-68 win over Kaci Fisher to earn Most Outstanding Performer honors.

But in equitation on the flat, the Aggies won three of the final four points to pull ahead and hold off the Gamecocks’ comeback. Senior Samantha Kraus was the lone Caroline rider to win a flat point, as she closed out the meet with a 69-62 win over A&M’s Parker.

The Gamecocks close out the SEC portion of their schedule on Feb. 27 when Carolina travels to face No. 1 Auburn.