WACO, Texas | The Georgia equestrian team brought home the 2014 NCEA national championship when it defeated Southeastern Conference foe South Carolina an 8-8 (2,323.5-2,219) in a rematch of the Southeastern Conference championship on Saturday at the Extraco Events Center. It was the program’s sixth national title and the first since 2010. Georgia ends its season with an overall record of 11-4.
“What an exciting day this was for our entire team,” coach Meghan Boenig said in a release. “I could not be more proud of how these riders performed, especially in pressure situations. For the first time, this competition has been about the entire team and we had outstanding efforts from every single person on the team today. This is a ‘hunker down’ group that has competed to the very last point in every single ride in every single meet this season. They have never given up and I am so proud of them for that.”
Taking home MOP honors for the Bulldogs were McKenzie Lantz (Reining) and Liza Finsness (Equitation on the Flat).
After jumping out to a 3-1 in Equitation on the Flat, the Bulldogs needed a clutch performance by its Reiners, which it got, as the squad posted a 3-1 win over the Gamecocks, sealing the national championship for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs started the day with a dominating 3-1 win in Equitation on the Flat. After dropping the first point of the event, the Bulldogs secured the final three to take the win. Finsness got things started with her 152-140 win over Kelsey Hart. Olivia Dorey followed with a 150-145 win over Samantha Smith. Meg O’Mara sealed the 3-1 win with her 149-142 win over Katherine Schmidt.
Georgia dropped 3-1 decision to South Carolina in both Horsemanship and Equitation Over Fences. Highlighting the two events for the Bulldogs were Sara Parr’s event-high score of 155.5 in Reining and Abby O’Mara’s winning ride of 149 in Equitation Over Fences.
The Reiners posted clutch performance after clutch performance, allowing Georgia to come away with the title. Trailing 7-5 going into the event, the Bulldogs knew they needed their best from the Reining team. Lantz opened the event with a 145-134.5 win over Johnna Letchworth for Georgia’s first point, which brought the overall score to 7-6. Lauren Garmon scored the tying point with her 138.5-0 win over Sarah Rose Bouchard. With the event tied at 7-7, Lauren Tieche turned in an event high 147.5, which beat Cody McMillion’s 135, allowing Georgia to pull ahead 8-7. Layla Choate secured South Carolina’s lone point of the event, but it was not enough, as the Bulldogs came away 2,323.5-2,219 in the raw score.
Women’s tennis advances to SEC final
COLUMBIA, MO. | The No. 6 Georgia women’s tennis team secured a berth in the SEC tournament final with a 4-1 win over No. 11 Vanderbilt on Saturday.
In doubles, the country’s No. 2 duo of Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase won a tight match to clinch the Bulldogs’ 19th doubles point of the season, beating No. 30 Lauren Mira and Courtney Colton 8-3.
Georgia’s top duo broke the Commodores’ serve when leading 4-3, and proceeded to win five straight games to give the Bulldogs an early lead.
Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia got things started in doubles with an 8-1 win over No. 32 Ashleigh Antal and Sydney Campbell.
Caroline Brinson and Lilly Kimebll fell 8-2 to No. 85 Marie Casares and Frances Altick.
In singles, No. 17 Garcia started the scoring with a 6-4, 6-0 win over No. 54 Frances Altick. Shortly after, No. 18 Kowase gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead as she notched a 7-5, 6-2 win over No. 98 Casares.
The Commodores got on the board when Antal outlasted Fuller 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. No. 83 Kimbell battled to beat No. 80 Colton 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. It’s the second match that Kimbell has clinched this spring.
The Bulldogs, who are seeking their seventh SEC tournament title and first since 2009, will play No. 3 Alabama in today’s 1 p.m. final
Ninth-ranked Florida sweeps doubleheader
GAINESVILLE, Fla. | Ninth-ranked Florida swept a doubleheader from Georgia, winning 3-2 and 8-1 Saturday at McKethan Stadium.
“I thought Ryan Lawlor pitched well enough to win in game one, but we couldn’t get two bunts down and we didn’t execute in a few scoring opportunities against a team that is ranked number one in the country in RPI,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “In game two, we went backwards, and it reminded me of our series at Florida State when we gave up the big inning. We didn’t compete very well in the second game. We had some good at bats to get the bases loaded a few times and then had poor at bats once the bases were loaded. We’ve got enough arms left for Sunday, but in this league, you’re going to have to be able to score more than one or two runs to win games.”
Georgia (21-17-1, 7-9-1 SEC) got a complete game from sophomore Ryan Lawlor in Game 1, but a solo home run by freshman John Sternagel proved to be the difference as ninth-ranked Florida edged the Bulldogs 3-2.
Florida used an early six-run outburst to post an 8-1 win over Georgia to complete the doubleheader sweep.
The Gators struck for a pair of runs in the third, collecting three hits and were aided by a pair of wild pitches including one that scored the game’s first run. Coming in to the game, freshman right-hander Robert Tyler had two wild pitches on the year. Centerfielder Harrison Bader notched an RBI-single to make it 2-0.
Georgia loaded the bases to start the fourth as Conor Welton (3-for-4) smacked a double, Nelson Ward followed with a single and Daniel Nichols was hit by a pitch. Then, Zack Bowers struck out on three pitches. Freshman Skyler Weber battled back from a 0-2 count to register an RBI-fielder’s choice to make it 2-1, and that would be all the scoring for the Bulldogs as right-hander Aaron Rhodes maintained Florida’s edge by retiring Brandon Stephens. He went 5 1/3 innings to pick up a victory and move his record to 4-2.
Bulldogs sweep Tigers in doubleheader
The No. 15 Georgia softball took an 11-2, five-inning win over No. 23 Auburn in Game 1 before winning 8-4 in Game 2.
Chelsea Wilkinson (24-5) earned both wins, allowing six hits and four runs and striking out 12.
Bekah Farris also saw time in the circle in Game 1 for Georgia, (38-8, 11-6 SEC) allowing two runs, one earned, on two hits.
In Game 1, the bats were hot for the Bulldogs, as they recorded 10 hits, including three home runs and a double. Among the home runs was a grand slam by Alex Hugo.
Paige Wilson and Anna Swafford also hit a home run for Georgia.
The Bulldogs hit three home runs in Game 2, including one from Hugo.
Georgia will go for the series sweep at 2 p.m. today.
Alexander, Georgia eighth at SECs
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. | Paced by a second-straight 1-over 73 by Amira Alexander, the Georgia women’s golf team carded a 15-over 303 in Saturday’s second round of the SEC women’s golf championships at Greystone Golf and Country Club.
Both Alexander and the Bulldogs enter today’s final round in eighth place on the individual and team leaderboards, respectively.
Georgia is at 605, while Alexander is at 2-over 146.
Bulldogs fall in match play championship final
MILTON | The sixth-ranked Georgia men’s golf team dropped a 5-1 decision to No. 5 Georgia Tech on Saturday in the final of the Capital City Club Match Play Championship.
The Bulldogs went 1-1 on Saturday at the Crabapple Course, dispatching No. 19 Florida State 3.5-2.5 in their first match of the day.
Senior Keith Mitchell had the Bulldogs’ lone victory against the Yellow Jackets as he topped Bo Andrews 2-up. Senior Joey Garber fell to Ollie Schniederjans 2-up, senior Michael Cromie dropped a 4 and 3 decision to Richard Werenski, junior Nicholas Reach was defeated by Anders Albertson 5 and 4, sophomore Lee McCoy lost 2 and 1 to Seth Reeves, and freshman Greyson Sigg was knocked off by Vincent Whaley 2-up.
Against the Seminoles, Mitchell topped Joaquin Lolas 2-up, Garber defeated Jack Maguire 2 and 1, Reach beat Harry Ellis 2 and 1, and McCoy halved his match with Hank Lebioda. Sigg dropped a 1-up decision to Cristobal Del Solar and Cromie fell 5 and 4 to Rowin Caron.