Feb. 4, 2012
BISHOP, Ga. - No. 7 South Carolina jumped out to a 5-4 lead against Georgia on Saturday, but the Bulldogs won seven of the last 10 points en route to an 11-8 win at the UGA Equestrian Complex. South Carolina's Hunt Seat team won a 5-5 tiebreaker on raw scores, while the Gamecocks Western squad lost, 6-3.
"Our hats go off to a really good Georgia team, they came back in the second half and got it done today," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "Very excited for Amanda and Carolyn for winning MVP's, but I'm also thrilled about our Hunt Seat riders. They beat a phenomenal group of Georgia riders today and should be proud of themselves. That was a big one for them today and if they continue to progress over the spring, that could really set us up well for the postseason."
The Gamecocks started strong Saturday, winning three of five points in Equitation Over Fences and tying the Bulldogs, 2-2, in Reining.
In the jumping, juniors Carolyn Cucrio and Kimberly McCormack both won their rides, along with freshman Amber Henter. Curcio was named MVP for her 87-82 win over No. 1 Georgia rider Carly Anthony. McCormack started her 2-for-2 day by knocking off Isabel Jolicoer, 74-72, while Henter picked up an 84-82 win over Olivia Dorey.
"Big MVP for Carolyn today, absolutely thrilled for her and all of the jumpers," Major said. Kimmy went 2-for-2 again for us and that was huge, and Amber had a great win too. And even though they lost their points, Katherine only lost by one-point and Paige lost by two, but I thought they had great rides as well."
The Reining team made an early statement, holding the Bulldogs to a 2-2 tie. Junior Amanda Pope earned MVP honors for her 73.5-72 win over Georgia's McKenzie Lantz. Freshman Cody McMillion knocked off her Bulldog opponent, 69.5-68.5. Pope's 73.5 was an event-high.
"Our Reiners really put us in a good position today, to win two points while holding them to two points is a testament to how hard they've been practicing," Major said. "Amanda and Cody rode beautifully and I know coach Sorrel is excited about Amanda's MVP. But hats off to Audrey for her tie, and our other riders only lost their rides by one-point each, so they're all on the right track and we're really excited about where they're headed."
Down by one, Georgia rallied late, winning seven of the last 10 points, jumping ahead for the 11-8 win. The Gamecocks dropped four of five points in Horsemanship, and the Flat riders dropped three of five.
In Horsemanship, sophomore Johnna Letchworth earned a 75.5-70.5 victory over her Bulldog opponent. Letchworth improved to 6-1 on the season, and is now 4-0 against Georgia all-time during spring competitions.
"Our Horsemanship riders have nothing to feel bad about, they have been great all season and just had a slip up today," Major said. "Ever since last season, they have emerged as what I truly believe to be the best Horsemanship team in the country, so today's meet is already over and they'll be ready to go Monday at practice."
In Equitation on the Flat, McCormack completed her 2-for-2 day, knocking off Georgia's Melanie Carraway, 74-69. She now has 12 wins during the regular season this year, marking a career-high for the junior. As a freshman in 2009-2010, she posted ten wins during the regular season, along with nine as a sophomore last year.
Senior Colvin Hedgepeth also won her ride in Equitation on the Flat, beating her Bulldog opponent, 74-70.
The Gamecocks return to action next weekend, when they travel to Martin, Tenn., for a 4 p.m. ET showdown with the Skyhawks.
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