Feb. 4, 2012
BISHOP, Ga. -The second-ranked University of Georgia equestrian team used a strong performance by the horsemanship squad to pull away from No. 7 South Carolina 11-8 on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs moved to 7-1 on the season, while USC falls to 3-5. Georgia swept the regular-season series with the Gamecocks, as it won the first meeting 11-9.
Among Georgia's strong performances, were a pair of MVP rides from freshmen Kylee Arbuckle and Sara Parr. Arbuckle earned the honor with a 69-65 win over Amber Henter in equitation on the flat. Parr's MVP ride came in horsemanship, where she rode to a 77-74.5 win over Sam Chiodo.
"We came out prepared in every single ride today," head coach Meghan Boenig said. "With it being such a close match, watching the horsemanship team come out and really be aggressive was really nice to see. We need to have that aggressiveness in every meet because we have Auburn and the championship season coming up. South Carolina caught us a little off guard, but we were able to push back a couple of times, which is what ultimately allowed us to come back and get the win."
With the meet tied at seven, the Bulldogs outscored South Carolina 4-1 in horsemanship to seal the win. Georgia scored the first four points of the event, with Paige Stawicki, Katelyn Van Allen, Parr and Megan Hawkins scoring winning rides. Stawicki grabbed the first point with a 73-66.5 win over Alison Cerasani. Van Allen followed with a 74-73.5 victory over Maggie Fortune. Parr's win over Chiodo came just before Hawkins picked up a 75.5-70.5 win over Katie Kopf. USC's Johnna Letchworth won the final point of the event.
Trailing by one, Georgia tied the competition at seven during equitation on the flat. The Bulldogs won three-straight rides that knotted the score. Michelle Morris got things started with a 79-77 win over Carolyn Curcio. Grace Rogers edged Katherine Schmidt 70-68 for the second point of the event. Arbuckle gave Georgia a 3-0 lead on the flat with her MVP-winning ride. South Carolina took the final two points, with Kimberly McCormack and Colvin Hedgepath earning wins.
Morris won Georgia's first point of the meet with her 85-84 win over Schmidt in equitation over fences. With the even tied at one, Abby O'Mara scored Georgia's next point with a 75-73 win over Paige Dekko. McCormack and Curcio earned the final two points for South Carolina and give it a 3-2 win in equitation over fences. For her score of 87, Curcio was named the MVP of equitation over fences.
With the Gamecocks leading by one, Becca Haaland rode to a 68.5-68.5 tie to start the reining portion of the competition. Sami Belcher followed with a 67-66 win that put the Bulldogs on top, 1-0. After South Carolina knotted the score at one, Lauren Tieche earned a point for Georgia with a 72-71 win over Annie Laurie McDonald. South Carolina grabbed the final point in the reining portion, as Amanda Pope had an MVP performance with her score of 73.5.
Georgia returns to the ring on February 18 when it travels to Auburn, Ala., to take on the No. 1 Tigers. The Bulldogs are the only team to have defeated the Tigers this season. Georgia earned a 10-8 win in November.