COLUMBIA, S.C. - Fourth-ranked South Carolina will look to end its three meet skid on Thursday, as the Gamecocks travel to Auburn, Ala. to face No. 2 Auburn. Thursday's meet is scheduled to being at 2 p.m. ET at the Auburn University Horse Center.
"It's going to be a very exciting meet as it always is when we face Auburn because both teams really compete hard, and I don't expect this meet to be any different," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "Auburn is a difficult team to face on the road, and we know they're going to give us everything they've got on Thursday, so we're going to need to ride better than we did against Georgia. I know coach Sorrel and coach Gwin have been happy with how their groups have been practicing, so we'll just need to carry that over to the competition."
MEET INFORMATION WHO: No. 4 South Carolina at No. 2 Auburn WHEN: Thurs., February 14, 2013 WHERE: Auburn University Horse Center ADMISSION: Free LIVE SCORING:Click Here for Live Scores
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA The Gamecocks enter Thursday's meet ranked fourth in the latest NCEA coaches poll. South Carolina lost its No. 1 ranking after losing its spring opener at home to Georgia on Feb. 2. Overall, the Gamecocks are 4-3 overall and 3-1 in conference action. After starting the season winning four meets in a row, Carolina has dropped its last three meets, two of which came on the road.
SCOUTING AUBURN The Tigers enter Thursday's meet ranked second in the latest NCEA coaches poll. Despite opening the spring with back-to-back wins over Fresno State and Kansas State, the Tigers remained No. 2 as Georgia jumped Auburn for the top spot. The Tigers have won four meets in a row, and currently sit at 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Auburn's only loss came to South Carolina in a 10-9 decision on Oct. 4 in Blythewood.
SERIES HISTORY LAST MEETING: South Carolina defeated Auburn, 10-9, in the teams' most recent meeting on Oct. 4, 2012. The Gamecocks improved to 2-0 with the win and picked up their first SEC victory in the SEC equestrian era.
LAST TIME AT AUBURN: The Gamecocks last competed at Auburn on Oct. 8, 2011. The meet ended in a 10-10 tie, but the Tigers won the tiebreaker to claim the victory. Carolina and Auburn tied 5-5 in both the Hunt Seat and Western portion of the meet, but the Tigers held the raw score tiebreaker in both disciplines.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT When the Gamecocks and Tigers meet, the competition is widely known for the excitement of a back-and-forth scoring meet.
In the teams' last nine meetings dating back to the Fall of 2009, five of the meets have been decided by one point or less. Two of the five ended 10-10, with the Tigers winning both of those because of the tiebreaker.
IN FAMILIAR TERRITORY Senior Kimberly McCormack is once again the team leader in overall wins. McCormack was the lone Gamecock to score a point in Equitation Over Fences in the loss to Georgia on Feb. 2, but her win gave her seven on the season, giving her the team lead.
McCormack led the team in wins as a freshman (15) and sophomore (17). She held the lead for most of last season, finishing with a career-best 22-8 record, but was narrowly edged by then-freshman Katherine Schmidt, who went 9-1 in postseason action to give her the nation's best record at 25-7.
McCormack, Henry, Schmidt, and Smith have competed in both Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences this season. Amber Henter is currently 6-1 as a single-event rider this season, with all of her action coming in Equitation Over Fences, giving her the best single-event record on the team. Sophomore Sam Chiodo leads the Western team with a 5-1 record in Horsemanship.
TWO-PARTER This week's trip to Auburn will be the first of two trips to the plains for the Gamecocks this spring. The Tigers will host the inaugural SEC Equestrian Championships, which run March 29-30.
Each of the four SEC teams will compete twice, with the opening round set for March 29. The championship meet will be held on March 30, and that will follow the third-place meet, which will be held earlier in the day, between the two losing teams from the opening round.
TOUGH ROAD TEAMS After home meets against Texas A&M (Feb. 23) and Delaware State (Mar. 1), the Gamecocks will close out the season on the road with back-to-back meets at Kansas State (Mar. 8) and Oklahoma State (Mar. 9).
SCORE MUCH? Despite dropping its last two dual meets, the Gamecocks have most scored fewer than eight points in a dual meet this season.
In what is currently the longest streak in the country, South Carolina has scored at least eight points in 21 consecutive dual meets, dating back to the 2010-2011 season.
UP NEXT South Carolina returns to Blythewood for its final two home meets of the season. On Feb. 23, the Gamecocks will host SEC foe Texas A&M at 1 p.m. The equestrian team is partnering with the Town of Blythewood to host the annual Equi-Fest Kids Day at the Texas A&M meet, where kids will have the opportunity to play games and participate in a variety of activities throughout the meet. The Texas A&M meet will also serve as senior day for the Gamecocks, who will honor a total of nine student-athletes in all.
The Gamecocks will then host their final home meet of the season on Mar. 1, when South Carolina competes against Delaware State,