Feb. 2, 2013
BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. - No. 1 South Carolina suffered its first SEC lost on Saturday, as the Gamecocks were upset, 11-8, by No. 3 Georgia at One Wood Farm. South Carolina is now 5-3 overall and 3-1 in conference play, while the Bulldogs improved to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
South Carolina's Western team defeated the Bulldogs, 5-4, while the Gamecock Hunt Seat team lost, 7-3.
"We knew coming in that we'd have to ride our best to beat Georgia today, and I think our riders would agree that there were some times when we didn't do that this afternoon, and we can't make mistakes against a team like Georgia and expect to win," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "I thought our Western team was phenomenal today and I couldn't be happier for Coach Sorrel and our Western riders because they certainly were great. On the Hunt Seat side, we made some mistakes and Georgia capitalized on them, and that proved to be the difference."
Saturday's meet was deadlocked at two apiece following Reining. Trailing 1-0 early, the Gamecocks won consecutive points as seniors Audrey Jewell and Amanda Pope both won their head-to-head rides, giving Carolina an early 2-1 lead. It was one of just two leads South Carolina held on Saturday. Sophomore Layla Choate picked up a tie, as both she and Georgia's Samantha Belcher scored 70 on their rides.
Tied 2-2, senior Kimberly McCormack gave the Gamecocks their second and final lead of the afternoon as she defeated Georgia's Kylee Arbuckle, 75-73, in Equitation Over Fences. After McCormack gave the Gamecocks a 3-2 lead, the Bulldogs swept the final four points to take a 6-3 lead that they would not relinquish.
"We made some mistakes in the jumping that we normally don't make, and when you make enough mistakes, that's how you end up losing the event," Major said. "Even though Amber lost her point, I thought she had a great ride and it just didn't go her way today, but I was proud that we didn't give up at that point and that our team stayed positive and really competed hard in the second half of the show."
South Carolina split the final ten points of Saturday's meet with Georgia, but could not overcome the deficit, as the Bulldogs held on for the 11-8 win.
In Horsemanship, South Carolina dropped the first two points, but juniors Katie Kopf and Johnna Letchworth and sophomore Sam Chiodo won the final three points to clinch the victory for the Gamecock Western team. Kopf dropped Georgia's Sara Parr, 74.5-73.5, and Chiodo followed up with a 75.5-74.5 victory over Paige Stawicki, as Chiodo improves to 5-1 overall and still leads the Western team in wins this season. Letchworth was named Most Outstanding Player of the event, as she scored and event-high 76 to defeat her opponent by a six-point margin. It marks Letchworth's tenth career M.O.P. and first of the season.
"Our Horsemanship girls were terrific today and Johnna's point ended up clinching the Western victory for us, so I was happy to see her do that while being named most outstanding player of the event," Major said. "Our Western team has been terrific all season, so now we just need to win some more points on the Hunt Seat side and I think we'll be fine moving forward."
After dropping the first three points in Equitation on the Flat, freshman Samantha Kraus won her first point as a Gamecock, as she picked up a 70-65 victory over Georgia's Leylan Gleeson, who picked up M.O.P. honors earlier in the meet in Equitation Over Fences. Samantha Smith scored a team-high 81 on the Flat, edging Georgia's Arbuckle by three points.
"I was very happy to see Sammi Kraus win her point today, and quite frankly this probably should have been her third win of the season, but she had some tough breaks in the fall that just didn't go her way," Major said. "She's hung in there for us and been a great competitor and it was nice seeing her win her first point in front of the home crowd today. And Sam Smith had a great ride and really looked good today on the Flat, so it was nice to see her be able to get that win after losing her jumping point earlier."
South Carolina returns to action on Feb. 14 when the Gamecocks travel to Auburn to face the Tigers.
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