Having defeated South Carolina twice previously this season, the Auburn equestrian team knew exactly what to expect when it was matched with the Gamecocks in the first round of the SEC Championship.
Auburn added a third win over South Carolina on Friday, earning its first trip to the SEC Championship title match since 2013 with an 11-7 victory.
“It was good to come away with a win, but I don’t think we rode as well as we’re capable of,” said Auburn head coach Greg Williams. “The team feels good about tomorrow and we plan on coming out hard in the championship.”
Three Auburn freshman led the Tigers to an early lead in the match, as Caitlin Boyle, Hayley Iannotti and Ashton Alexander each won in Equitation over Fences.
South Carolina won Horsemanship, but two more Auburn freshmen, Lauren Diaz and Megan Rauh, earned victories to keep the score tied.
“The freshmen have been unreal all year,” Williams said. “We have a really strong group of underclassmen, so the future is great for Auburn equestrian. I’m so proud of the way they performed in a high-pressure situation today.”
The two teams tied in Reining, leaving the competition up to Equitation on the Flat.
Auburn earned four wins and a tie in the event to capture its 12th victory of the season. Senior Elizabeth Benson won her 12th match of the season in Equitation on the Flat, a school record.
Auburn will compete for the SEC title on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Georgia.