Friday, October 7, 2016

No. 9 Fresno State Upsets Defending National Champion No. 1 Auburn

The No. 9 Fresno State equestrian team upset the reigning national champion, No. 1 Auburn, 11-5 on Friday morning at the Dovington Training Center in Felton, Del. The Bulldogs handed the Tigers their first loss since Nov. 6, 2015, and their first neutral-site regular-season loss since Feb. 14, 2015.

"I am proud of our entire team," Fresno State head coach Eric Hubbard said. "We were very focused, with a plan for each horse. Our mental toughness played a huge factor in today's win. We are going to take this momentum, refocus and hopefully compete well against Delaware State."

Auburn (1-1) had won 17 of its last 18 competitions going into the meet on Friday. This is the second-straight win for Fresno State (3-1) over the Tigers, last defeating them 9-8 in Fresno, Calif., on Nov. 22, 2014. The Bulldogs are currently undefeated (3-0) in neutral-site games this season.

The 'Dogs swept Auburn 4-0 in both Equitation on the Flat and Horsemanship, tied 2-2 in Equitation Over Fences, and the Tigers owned a 3-1 advantage in Reining.

The Bulldogs opened action on Friday with Equitation on the Flat, where they would start the day out with a 4-0 lead, earning points from junior Kylina Chalack, sophomore Alexandra Dirickson, junior Sierra Swaffar and freshman Natalie Wendt.

Next, senior Taylor Brown helped Fresno State hold a narrow 5-3 lead after scoring the team's only point in Reining with a ride of 70.5. The Bulldogs then took the reins in Equitation Over Fences, earning points from Chalack and Dirickson to keep the score close at 7-5.

The final event, Horsemanship, has been the best for the 'Dogs this season and they remained consistent, sweeping the Tigers with winning rides from Brown, junior Taylor Dixon, sophomore Taeya Harle and junior Rachel Williams to cement an 11-5 victory.

Brown claimed two Most Outstanding Player accolades, bringing her total to seven this year to go along with a perfect 8-0 record. Dirickson and Wendt earned their first MOPs of the season in Equitation Over Fences and Equitation on the Flat, respectively.

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