March 1, 2013
BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. - No. 5 South Carolina put on dominating performances in three of four events vs. Delaware State on Friday, as the Gamecocks defeated the Hornets, 15-4, in the home finale at One Wood Farm. The Gamecocks improve to 6-4 overall, while going 5-1 at home this year.
The Western team picked up a 6-3 win, while the Hunt Seat team cruised to a 9-1 victory.
"I think our team saw today how much they can accomplish with a great week of practice, and staying focused on our goals," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "It's always special when we can get a win for our seniors in the final home meet, and we need to carry this over to next weekend when we hit the road to face two tough opponents."
Delaware State jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, as the Gamecocks got their lone point from sophomore Layla Choate, who defeated her opponent, 70-69. Senior Missy Mull held her Delaware State opponent to a 67.5-67.5 tie.
"Our reiners have nothing to worry about, it was just one of those days where the points didn't go their way," Major said. "They've been a key element to all of our wins, especially at home as they have given us a bunch of leads throughout the season, which in turn sets up very nicely when our jumpers do as well as they did today."
South Carolina took control of Friday's meet with a 5-0 sweep in Equitation Over Fences, the second sweep by the Gamecock jumpers in as many meets. Katherine Schmidt kicked off another 2-for-2 day with a 86.5-72 win over her opponent, the first of 11 consecutive points for the Gamecocks. Freshman Sally Henry cruised to a 78-65.5 win over her opponent, followed by an MVP win by Hunt Seat captain Amber Henter, who defeated her opponent with an event-high score of 89. Senior Kimberly McCormack extended her record for career appearances at 101, as she edged Carlin Savage, 88-87.5. Like Schmidt, redshirt freshman Samantha Smith picked up the first of her two points on the day with a two-point win over Alyssa Berfield.
"Our jumping team has been a solid group for us all season, but it's very encouraging because I feel like we get a little better each time out, and that's the type of performance that can really turn a meet in your favor, especially as we get ready for the post-season," Major said. "Excellent job by coach Gwin and by her riders."
South Carolina's Horsemanship team sealed Delaware State's fate, as the Gamecocks picked up a 5-0 sweep. Sam Chiodo put up the first point in the second half of Friday's meet, extending her Western team-leading win total to eight, as she picked up a 75-71 win over Alexis Gratkowski. Kelsey Urban, entered Friday's meet winless at home but a perfect 4-0 on the road, earned her first career point at home. She scored 72.5, defeating her Delaware State opponent by a ten-point margin. Junior Katie Kopf earned her fourth win of the season, as all four of her victories this year have come with scores of 79, 74.5, 70.5, and 73.5. Junior Alison Ceresani won her first point of the spring, as she defeated her Delaware State opponent, 74.5-72. Redshirt Johnna Letchworth finished the 5-0 sweep by giving the Gamecocks an 11-3 lead, as she won her third MVP in the last four meets with an event-high score of 76.5.
"Consistency is and execution is what it takes to win against good opponents, and I think our Horsemanship group has delivered for us all season," Major said. "Coach Sorrel has coached them up very well, and I think they really dedicate themselves to riding at a high level.
In the Flat ring, the Gamecocks finally got the results they had been looking for all spring, a 4-1 win. After dropping the first point of the event, Carolina's riders went on to sweep the final four, highlighted by an MVP win for senior Logan Holler, who picked up an 84-73 win. Schmidt and Smith both completed their perfect 2-for-2 day by winning their Flat points, and freshman Emily Reynolds earned her first career point with a one-point victory.
"Our Flat riders certainly deserved that one today, and their patience finally paid off," Major said. "Even though she didn't win her point, I thought Samantha Kraus had a wonderful ride for us. And to see Emily get thrown in the lineup at the last minute and tie the event-high score with Katherine and Samantha Smith was great to see. I'm also thrilled for Logan to pick up a big win and an MVP, she's someone who has worked extremely hard her entire career and she was sharp today."
The Gamecocks will now play out the rest of their schedule away from Blythewood. South Carolina closes out the regular season next weekend at Kansas State and Oklahoma State, followed by the SEC Championships later this month in Auburn, Ala. In mid-April, the Gamecocks will travel to Waco for the NCEA National Championships.
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