Sept. 13, 2011
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Auburn, Ala. - After winning the 2011 Overall National Championship, Auburn equestrian will be looking to make a run at another championship this season.
Head Coach Greg Williams and his team will return seven seniors, led by Maggie McAlary and Grace Socha. The team will be deep in both depth and experience and will feature a lot of talented riders with 11 juniors and nine sophomores to go along with an impressive 2011-12 signing class and 15 newcomers overall.
"The biggest thing coming off a national championship-type season is that we are not in a reloading stage," Coach Williams said. "We have a lot of good returning talent and a lot of freshmen that are going to play a key role early on."
This season, looking to lead the charge are seniors Maggie McAlary, Grace Socha, Kristin Hansen and Jillian Fuller. Juniors Anna Becker and Lindsay Portela are both shaping up to be constant contributers and sophomore Rachel Lin looks to build off of last season's success.
Last season, The Tigers beat Georgia, 6-2, for the Hunt Seat title and with the win, secured the 2011 Overall National Championship. Auburn also were awarded three of four MVPs in the tournament. Maggie McAlary was named the flat MVP, Grace Socha earned the over fences MVP and the reining MVP went to graduated senior Paige Monfore.
"While we did lose some talented seniors and a couple of All-Americans in Anna Schierholz and Alexandra Loprete, we added a lot of depth for this season," said Coach Williams.
Auburn finished the 2011 season with three championship titles. The team took home the SEC Championship, the Hunt Seat National Championship (its first since 2008) and the Overall National Championship (its second and first since 2006).
The season will open on the road at UT-Martin on Sept. 25. The team will be hosting five home meets, three of which will be in October, starting with the home opener against TCU on Oct. 1, followed by South Carolina on Oct. 8 and Kansas State on Oct. 21.
The Tigers will also travel to two places in which they have never competed before. They will first go to Brookings, S.D., on Nov. 4-5 to face South Dakota State and Delaware State and will also visit Las Cruces, N.M., to take on New Mexico State and Fresno State on March 9-10.
The team returns in the spring for its last two home matches facing Oklahoma State on Jan. 28 and Feb. 18 to take on Georgia.