COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 1 South Carolina begins the spring portion of its schedule on Saturday at 1 p.m. when the Gamecocks host third-ranked Georgia at One Wood Farm Blythewood. Admission is free to all Gamecock equestrian events.
"We're looking forward to finally getting back to competing, and we have a tough test right out of the gate against a very talented Georgia team," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "We're going with an experienced lineup on Saturday, and I think we learned in the fall that when we ride at our best, we have the ability to take control of a meet. We'll need to ride at our best on Saturday and I think we enter this meet with great energy and I know the girls are excited."
MEET INFORMATION WHO: No. 3 Georgia at No. 1 South Carolina WHEN: Sat., February 2, 2013 1 p.m. WHERE:One Food Farm Blythewood, S.C. ADMISSION: Free LIVE SCORING: Click Here for Live Scores
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA The Gamecocks enter the spring as the No. 1 team in the country, according to the latest NCEA coaches poll. The Gamecocks are 4-2 overall this season and 3-0 in conference play. South Carolina's 3-0 SEC record leads the conference, as the Gamecocks defeated all of its SEC foes (Auburn, Georgia, Texas A&M) during the fall.
The Gamecocks have won two NCEA National Championships in program history, in 2005 and 2007. South Carolina also boasts three consecutive Hunter Seat championships from 2005 through 2007, and one Western Reserve Championship in 2007. South Carolina picked up its first Southern Equestrian Championship last March in the tenth and final season of the now defunct annual postseason tournament.
SCOUTING GEORGIA The Bulldogs enter Saturday's meet as the No. 3 team in the country, according to the latest NCEA coaches poll. Georgia is 4-3 overall this season and is 1-2 in conference play. The Bulldogs already have a spring competition under their belt, as Georgia picked up a 12-4 road win at Fresno State on Jan. 26.
SERIES HISTORY South Carolina has won back-to-back dual meets over Georgia. In the last two meets, the team ranked No. 1 at the time of the competition lost both times. In both meets, it was South Carolina that upset then-No. 1 Georgia.
HISTORY LESSON The Gamecocks have not beaten Georgia at home in a spring meet since Feb. 5, 2011. In that victory, South Carolina trailed 9-6 heading into Reining. Carolina won three points and forced a tie in one head-to-head to tie the score at 9-9 entering the final ride of the day. Then-sophomore Audrey Jewell had the final ride of the show, already knowing she had to beat a 73.5 from Georgia's Jackie Hoyt. Jewell delivered a career-high score of 75 to clinch the victory and won her second career MVP.
Several notable items from that meet: South Carolina's Western team shutout the Bulldogs, 9-0. Then-sophomore Alex Arute was the only Gamecock Hunt Seat rider to score a point against Georgia in that meet, as she defeated the Bulldogs' Olivia Dorey, 89-79. The Bulldogs routed South Carolina's Hunt Seat team that day, 9-1. South Carolina's Horsemanship team defeated Georgia's Horsemanship team, 5-0. Despite posting an event-high score off 77.5 and winning her head-to-head, then-junior Maggie Fortune saw her defeated opponent, Dana Wilson earn MVP.
ALMOST ACCURATE Georgia claims to have a 44-1 all-time home dual meet record on its official website. That record has not been accurate since March, when the Gamecocks defeated Georgia at the UGA Equestrian Complex to claim the 2012 Southern Equestrian Championship. South Carolina handed the Bulldogs their third home loss in November when the Gamecocks defeated Georgia, 11-8.
SAM I AM The Gamecocks will have a unique occurrence in the lineup on Saturday - three riders with the first name Samantha. Sam Chiodo, Samantha Smith, and Samantha Kraus are all slated to be in the lineup on Saturday.
HOME DEBUT After competing four times on the road during the fall, freshman Samantha Kraus will make her home debut on Saturday against the Bulldogs. Kraus most recently competed at SMU on Nov. 18, where she rode her Mustang opponent to an 82-82 tie.
PACKED LEADERBOARD Four Gamecocks are currently tied for the team lead in wins with six apiece. Senior Kimberly McCormack, redshirt sophomore Amber Henter, sophomore Katherine Schmidt, and freshman Sally Henry all have six wins apiece. McCormack, Schmidt, and Henry all have competed in both Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences this season, and all three have at least two losses. Henter has only competed in Equitation Over Fences this season, and her 6-0 record gives her the highest winning percentage of any rider with at least two rides this season.
SAM I AM PART II Sophomore Sam Chiodo currently leads the Western team with a 4-1 record. Chiodo's four wins this season gives her 12 total in her Gamecock career.
SUPER SOPHOMORES Five Gamecock sophomores have already amassed at least ten wins apiece in their young Gamecock careers.
This marks the first time since at least 2002 that five riders in the same class have amassed at least ten wins apiece through just the first three semesters of their college careers.
A FIRST IN THE SEC ERA Redshirt sophomore Amber Henter and freshman Kelsey Urban both became the first Gamecock equestrians to be named SEC Riders of the Month. The duo picked up the conference honor for their success during the month of November.
Henter, a sophomore from St. Petersburg, Fla., went 4-0 in Equitation Over Fences during the month of November. All four of her wins came on the road, beginning with her victory at No. 1 Georgia on Nov. 2. During South Carolina's three-meet road trip to Texas, Henter went 3-for-3, with wins over Texas A&M, Baylor, and Southern Methodist.
Urban, a freshman from East Hampton, Conn, went 3-0 during the month of November, with all three of her victories also coming on the road. In the upset win over No. 1 Georgia on Nov. 2, she won her first point as a Gamecock while also winning her first career Most Outstanding Player award, as she scored an event-high 76 to defeat her Bulldog opponent. She closed out the month with victories at Texas A&M and Baylor, giving her a 3-1 overall record.
NATIONAL ATTENTION Amber Henter was also named National Rider of the Month by the NCEA in November.
She became just the second Gamecock to win the award, as Kimberly McCormack previously was named National Rider of the Month in March 2012.
UP NEXT South Carolina will return to action on Thursday, Feb. 14 when the Gamecocks travel to Auburn to face the second-ranked Tigers.