AUBURN, Ala. - In the final regular season home competition second-ranked Auburn equestrian team fought back to defeat fourth-ranked South Carolina, 10-9, Thursday at the Auburn University Horse Center. The Tigers improved to 6-1 (3-1 SEC), while the Gamecocks fell 4-4 (3-2 SEC).
"I thought we were turning in pretty some strong rides," Auburn head coach Greg Williams said. "I thought we were going to be in a better position after the half, and I just told our girls congratulations to our seniors for their last regular season meet here and hanging on to win. What I was most proud of was their composure. They didn't get too frustrated. They stayed upbeat, and I'm so proud of them."
The meet began with equitation over fences and horsemanship, as Auburn fell to South Carolina, 3-2, in each event. The Tigers earned points from Christina Lin (88-86) and Quincy Hayes (86-83) over fences, while Stephanie Rucci (77.5-71.5) and Katie Buff (77.5-77) picked up wins in horsemanship.
"I thought the meet went really well, and I'm really excited that we won," Lin said. "South Carolina is definitely one of our biggest competitors. The scoring was pretty high in the beginning so I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but we really pulled it together and we all came together as a team."
The Tigers came out strong in the second half of the meet and were able to pull out the win behind strong rides in equitation on the flat and reining. Auburn defeated South Carolina, 4-1, on the flat and tied in reining, 2-2.
Christina Lin (79-76), Hasbrouck Donovan (71-62), Elizabeth Benson (75-74) and Jennifer Delman (66-65) each won their point for Auburn on the flat, while Cheyenne Cracraft (70.5-70) and Indy Roper (77-75) earned points in reining. Roper was named Most Outstanding Player for reining for the fourth time this season, and her score of 77 is the highest reining score in the Southeastern Conference this season.
"I think it was a total team effort," Roper said. "We were a little bit down at the half, but everyone kept their spirits up, and we really believed today. I think that's going to be important for the postseason is to believe that we're good. I was really proud of everyone, and to be a senior and to go out with a win is a really special experience."