Friday, September 25, 2015

Georgia Tops Texas A&M 10-9 in Season Opener

The No. 1 ranked Georgia equestrian team edged No.7 Texas A&M 10-9 on Friday in Bishop, Ga.  Addy Cord (Equitation Over Fences) and Lauren Garmon (Reining) took home MOP honors for the Bulldogs.

“It was a great competition,” Georgia head coach Meghan Boenig said.  “You’re never going to have an easy day when you’re in the SEC and today was no exception to that.  We’re excited about the win and for what we’re going to take from today to apply to the next meet.”

In Equitation Over Fences, Georgia jumped to an early lead, winning the event 4-1.  Texas A&M’s Rachel Hake took the first point of the day with an 80-70 lead over Liza Finsness.  Georgia took the next four points.  Leylan Gleeson rode to an 83-55 win over Texas A&M’s Alex Desiderio before Alex Maracic defeated Rebekah Chenelle 82-65. Addy Cord won the point against Hannah Williams 88-67.  Meg O’Mara closed out the event with a 91-85 win over Marlena Parker.  

In Horsemanship, Georgia’s Rachel Kolb took the first point defeating Carolyn Day 74.5-72.5.  Texas A&M won the next three points of the event.  Texas A&M’s Logan Pluhar rode to a 77-74.5 win over Georgia’s Sammie Johnson before Kaci Fisher defeated Madison Anger 75.5-74.5.  Rachel Lucht grabbed a point from Heather Schmidt with a score of 72.5-72.  Bailey Anderson won the final point with a score of 76.5-75 over Texas A&M’s Avery Ellis.  Texas A&M won the event 3-2.  

Going into the second half Georgia led Texas A&M 6-4.  

It began to rain with the start of Equitation on the Flat.  Addy Cord started off the event and defeated Texas A&M’s Alex Desiderio 81-74.  Alex Maracic picked up the next point for the Bulldogs with an 87-79 win over Marlena Parker before Leylan Gleeson defeated Anna Rea 89-78.  Texas A&M took the final two points of the event.  Georgia’s Meg O’Mara fell to Hannah Williams 78-75 before Audrey Gallagher defeated Liza Finsness 83-79.

The Bulldogs led the Aggies 9-6 going in to Reining.  The Aggies earned the first point as Ashley Dotson edged Lindsey Cheek 73-71.5.  Lauren Garmon put a point on the board after defeating Logan Pluhar 74-73.  Texas A&M’s Hannah Jechow grabbed a point defeating Charley Thiel 71.5-70. Texas A&M grabbed the next point when Sarah Kate Gridder defeated Kyndall Harper 69.5-63.  The final point of the day resulted in a tie between Claudia Spreng and Madison Bohman with a score of 70.5.  

South Carolina Opens Season With 9-7 Road Win at South Dakota State

Five Gamecock riders won their first career points on Friday as No. 2 South Carolina opened the 2015-16 season with a 9-7 win over South Dakota State at the DeHaan Equestrian Center. The Gamecocks are now 1-0 while the Jackrabbits fall to 0-1.

"This was a hard fought win, no question about it," South Carolina head coach Boo Major said. "We're happy to be getting out of here with a win over what I think is a very talented South Dakota State team. I think Ellie and her staff have done a tremendous job with their group and I think they're going to be really good as the season goes on. It was a close for one us, but our flat team dug us out of an early hole and our reining team was able to finish the job. We had a lot of folks competing for the first time today, and most of them won their points which is always a great thing. We'll have a short week of practice next week as we get ready to face a TCU team that has already proven to be a good road team."

Friday's meet began with equitation over fences, where the Gamecocks and Jackrabbits won two points apiece. South Dakota State won the first point of the meet, but Carolina evened the score at 1-1 when freshman Lizzie van der Walde defeated Matilyn Skinner, 84-79, in her first competition as a Gamecock. Redshirt senior Samantha Smith followed with an 84-83 victory over Marielle Golden to give the Gamecocks an early 2-1 lead. South Dakota State won the next point to tie the meet at 2-2, and in the final jumping head-to-head, Gamecock senior Samantha Kraus held South Dakota State's Blair Wright to a 81-81 tie.

The Jackrabbits extended their lead in horsemanship, winning three points and shutting out the Gamecocks in the process. South Dakota State opened the event by winning back-to-back points to take a 4-2 lead. After Carolina sophomore Megan Overberg and her Jackrabbit opponent Nicole Skiebold tied, 59-59, South Dakota State took a 5-2 lead. South Carolina junior Ashley Reichert held her Jackrabbit opponent to a 72.5-72.5 tie in her first competition as a Gamecock.

Trailing 5-2, the Gamecocks found the most success with their most inexperienced lineup. With three of Carolina's five equitation on the flat riders making their college debuts Friday, the Gamecocks swept the Jackrabbits, 5-0, with each rider posting scores of 80 or higher. Senior Erin Fry made the most of her debut Friday, edging South Dakota State's Taylor Duerr, 82-81. Smith followed by finishing off her 2-for-2 day, knocking off Natalie Howard, 87-82. Sophomore Raleigh Bacharach, in her first competition ride as a Gamecock, beat South Dakota State's Golden, 80-74. Junior Amelia Vernon joined an elite club on Friday, winning her first career point and first M.O.P. with an 86-83 victory over Alissa Greenwald. Senior hunt seat captain Samantha Kraus capped off the 5-0 sweep with an 87-81 victory over her opponent.

The Gamecocks entered reining leading the Jackrabbits, 7-5, needing two points to clinch the season opener and remain undefeated at South Dakota State. Freshman Bridgett White picked up the first point and gave Carolina an 8-5 when she edged out Morgan Hall, 72.5-72, in her Gamecock debut. The Jackrabbits claimed the next point to cut the Gamecocks lead to 8-6, but sophomore Bailey Walters sealed the victory when she beat South Dakota State's Nicole Harvey, 67.5-66.5. Senior Sarah Bouchard ended the event by holding her Jackrabbit opponent to a 74.5-74.5 tie.

"The second half was the difference for us, and our flat team and reiners got it done for us today," Major said. We had four riders alone in the second half of the meet win their first points and I was proud to see us come from behind and hold on to the lead in a tough road environment."

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