AUBURN, Ala. - The No. 3 Auburn equestrian team got clutch performances in its final two rides to pull out the 10-8 win over 10th-ranked Texas A&M, Saturday afternoon at the AU Horse Center.
"I am so proud at how well the girls rode, but even more proud of the way they stayed in there and fought it out," said head coach Greg Williams. "The girls rode so well today and they just weren't getting the scores. It tears your heart out to watch them ride that well and not get rewarded for it. We had some mistakes that were very unfortunate with some good riders going off pattern, and that was pretty scary. But then we had two clutch rides in the end with Stephanie and Jennifer Delman, and they pulled it out."
Tied 8-8 going into the final two points, reining rider Stephanie Rucci scored a 66.5 to defeat Sarah Kate Grider of Texas A&M and give Auburn the 9-8 lead. But the Tigers still needed to win its last equitation in the flat point, because the tiebreaker was already determined to favor the Aggies. Jennifer Delman took to the ring, needing to top a 73. She posted a 74 and Auburn picked up its third win in SEC play and eighth on the season.
The squad split equitation in the flat and reining with the Aggies, each taking four points in the two disciplines. Rucci and Katsy Leeman won in reining and Rucci was named MOP. In addition to Delman's win, Christina Lin picked up a victory for her second of the day. She was the only double winner.
To start the meet, Auburn swept all five points in equitation over fences, their strongest event. Lin was named the MOP with a season-best ride scoring an 88. All five riders posted 80 or better with Quincy Hayes scoring an 86, Jennifer Waxman an 84, Elizabeth Benson an 82 and Demi Stiegler an 81. On the season, the fences lineup has gone 37-13 for a .740 win percentage.
Auburn added one horsemanship point to the team score as Danielle Long scored a 72.5. After the first half of competition, Auburn lead 6-4.
NEXT UP: The team returns to the road for a meet at No. 6 Georgia on Feb. 22 in Athens, Ga.