COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina's equestrian team returns to action on Thursday, when the Gamecocks host Auburn at 2 p.m. at One Wood Farm in Blythewood. Thursday's meet will be the first ever head-to-head SEC meet for both teams, as this is the first year that the Southeastern Conference has sponsored the sport of equestrian.
"We've had a good week of practice so far, and I think the girls are looking forward to competing against a tough Auburn team," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "They are a tough team to compete against, whether it's at our place or at their place. The last two times we've competing against Auburn in the fall, both of those meets have been 10-10 tiebreakers. What that means is that whichever team rides with the fewest mistakes is going to have an edge."
MEET INFORMATION WHO: Auburn at South Carolina WHEN: Thurs., Oct. 4, 2012 2 p.m. WHERE: One Wood Farm Blythewood, S.C. ADMISSION: Free Live Scoring Page
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA The Gamecocks are 1-0 in 2012-2013 after Saturday's Saturday's 13-7 victory over then-No. 5 Oklahoma State. Since the 2005-06 season, the Gamecocks are 7-1 in season opening meets.
The Hunt Seat team is 1-0, defeating the Cowgirls, 8-2.
The Western team is 0-1. falling to Oklahoma State, 5-5 in a raw score tiebreaker.
SCOUTING AUBURN Auburn started the season ranked No. 3 in the country. The Tigers are off to a 1-0 start, having defeated the Cowgirls 10-9 on Sept. 28, one day before the Gamecocks defeated Oklahoma State in Blythewood.
Auburn's Hunt Seat team is 1-0, defatting the Cowgirls, 6-4.
The Tigers' Western team is 0-1 after losing to Oklahoma State, 5-4.
SERIES HISTORY South Carolina went 3-1 against Auburn last season. After dropping the fall meeting at Auburn on a 10-10 tiebreak, the Gamecocks beat Auburn three times during the spring, twice in dual meets and once at nationals. On Feb. 25, 2012, South Carolina defeated then-No. 1 Auburn, 12-6, in Blythewood. Six weeks later at the Southern Equestrian Championships in Bishop, Ga., Carolina turned in another 12-6 victory, advancing to the championship meet, where the Gamecocks would defeat No. 1 Georgia to win its first SEC title.
Two weeks after that, South Carolina and Auburn met in the second round of the western bracket at the NCEA National Championships in Waco, Texas. No. 5 seed South Carolina jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, as Audrey Jewell, Layla Choate, and Amanda Pope won points in Reining. Later in the competition, holding a 4-3 advantage, then-senior Maggie Fortune entered the ring knowing she would have to beat her opponent's score of 141.5. Fortune delivered a solid ride, earning a score of 143, giving South Carolina the meet-clinching point and sending the Gamecocks in to the third round of the bracket.
DID YOU KNOW? South Carolina has not beaten Auburn in a fall meet since the 2009-2010 season, when the Gamecocks defeated the Tigers, 12-8 at Auburn on Oct. 2, 2009. Kimberly McCormack, Audrey Jewell, and Amanda Pope are the only current Gamecocks that competed in that meet, with McCormack going 2-for-2 against the Tigers that day.
The last two fall meetings between South Carolina and Auburn have been 10-10 tiebreakers.
In the last seven seasons, South Carolina has won its first two dual meets only twice (2011-2012 season and 2006-2007 season).
MUSTANG SALLY Gamecock Freshman Sally Henry made an instant impact in her collegiate debut last week. The Cary, N.C. native not only scored the Hunt Seat team's first point of the season with a five-point victory in Equitation Over Fences, she also earned the Gamecocks' first Most Outstanding Player award of the season. Henry's 88 was an event-high on Saturday, as she scored the first point of a 5-0 sweep for the Equitation Over Fences squad.
STRONG COFFEE Junior Katie Kopf's 79 in Horsemanship on Saturday not only helped her win her point over Oklahoma State's Lauren Halvorson, but it also set a Gamecock record. Kopf's 79 marked the highest Horsemanship score by a Gamecock rider in at least four years.
FALL FINALE Thursday's meet against Auburn will mark South Carolina's last home meet of the fall semester. The Gamecocks end the fall semester with four straight road meets, all of which will come during the month of November, including three meets in three days during a weekend trip to Texas.
South Carolina's next home meet will take place Feb. 2, 2013 when the Gamecocks host Georgia.
DIRECTIONS TO ONE WOOD FARM Take I-77 N. to Exit 27, which is Blythewood Rd. Turn left back over the interstate and pass Cobblestone Park. Then turn right on the first road on the right, which is Syrup Mill Road. One Wood Farm is the first driveway on the left and is marked by a large Gamecock sign.