Nov. 17, 2012
WACO, Texas - No. 1 South Carolina suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday, as the Gamecocks fell, 9-8, at No. 8 Baylor at the Willis Family Equestrian Center. The Gamecocks are now 4-1 overall and 3-0 in SEC play.
Saturday's loss snaps the Gamecocks' ten-meet winning streak that dated back to last season.
"First off, we have to congratulate Baylor on the win today, they had some strong rides and they were a good team just like we'd knew they would be," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "I thought we had some really strong rides too, but in the end, we had a few mistakes that cost us some points, and that proved to be the difference."
South Carolina started strong on Saturday, jumping out to a 3-1 lead after Equitation Over Fences. Hunt Seat captain Amber Henter improved to 5-0 this season as she cruised to an 84-78 win over Paige Parker. Following a tie between freshman Sally Henry and Baylor's Taylor Brown, the Gamecocks won two of the next three points to close out the event.
Baylor made a comeback in Reining, winning the event, 3-1, and tying up the meet at 4-4 overall. South Carolina's only Reining point came from senior Amanda Pope, who defeated the Bears' Shelbey Jackson. Sophomore Layla Choate and Baylor's Parris Rice each scored an 70 in their head-to-head, resulting in a tie.
The meet was briefly delayed when senior Audrey Jewell was injured during her ride in Reining. The horse she was riding, Polly, fell, causing Jewell to fall with it. Jewell was taken to the hospital and released a few hours later. She returned to Baylor's equestrian facility at the end of the meet with athletic trainer Ashley Claprood and will travel with the team to Dallas on Sunday.
"Anytime that happens, it's obviously scary in the moment, but Audrey is fine now and she will be okay," Major said. "We're glad she was about to rejoin us after the show and I know she'll be in the stands leading the cheers for our Hunt Seat girls tomorrow against SMU."
Tied 4-4 at the halfway point, Baylor took control of Saturday's meet with a 4-1 victory in Equitation on the Flat. The Bears won four of five points, but South Carolina's Katherine Schmidt prevented the shutout as she picked up a 72-63 win over Taylor Brown.
Trailing 8-5, South Carolina still had a chance to win the meet, but needed to hold the Bears to only one point in Horsemanship. Baylor had a rider score a zero earlier in the day, so the Gamecocks held the tiebreaker if the meet ended in a 9-9 tie.
The Gamecocks cut Baylor's lead to two points as sophomore Sam Chiodo beat the Bears' Ashley Garza, 75-74.5. Freshman Kelsey Urban extended her three-meet winning streak on Saturday as she defeated Mary Brown, 75.5-73. All three of Urban's victories this season have come on the road (at Georgia, at Texas A&M, at Baylor).
Baylor made it a 9-7 meet a few minutes later when the Bears' Bryn Lyndley won her point, meaning the Gamecocks would need to win the final two points outright in order to force a tiebreaker. South Carolina redshirt junior Johnna Letchworth had a strong ride in the first group, as she scored a 77.5, but Baylor's Parris Rice scored a 77.5 in the second group, securing upset victory.
Junior Allison Ceresani closed out the meet with the best Horsemanship ride of the day, as she scored an event-high 78 to defeat Baylor's Gillian Chant, who scored a 77. Ceresani was named Most Outstanding Player of the event, South Carolina's only M.O.P. of the day, and the second of her career.
"I thought our Horsemanship girls were fantastic today, and they shouldn't hang their heads at all," Major said. "If you look at our scores, all five of our riders were terrific today. Unfortunately, our mistakes earlier in the day caught up with us, and that put the Horsemanship team in a tough position. Under that much pressure against a tough Baylor team, they really rode well and helped us get a Western win, so that's a positive we can definitely take away from today."
The Gamecocks close out the the fall schedule on Sunday as the Hunt Seat team will compete against SMU at 11 a.m. ET.
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