April 19, 2014
WACO, Texas - The fourth-ranked Auburn equestrian team's quest for a second straight national title fell short as the Tigers fell to No. 1 South Carolina, 10-6, in the semifinal match of the NCEA Championships.
"We just got beat today," said head coach Greg Williams. "They've been a good team all year, No. 1 for the entire second half of the season, and today they proved why. I knew we had a chance to beat them, but hats off to South Carolina for staying in there and riding all the way through."
The competition was close for the first two events - western reining and equitation on the flat - with the two teams notched at 4-4. Auburn dropped reining 1-3, with its sole win coming from senior All-American Stephanie Rucci who put up a two-judge score of 146.
Minutes later, the Tigers saw a dominating performance on the flat winning the event, 3-1. Demi Stiegler, Elizabeth Benson and Christina Lin all recorded wins, with Stiegler posting an 82 and 81 for a 163, the high for the event.
As the competition led to simultaneous action in horsemanship and equitation over fences, Auburn saw South Carolina break away winning both by a 3-1 score. Sophomore Griffin Knight posted the win in horsemanship and Benson had the victory in fences.
For the championships, Benson went undefeated while riding double in hunt season going 4-0 through two meets.
The senior class wraps up their career with two overall national championships.