The South Carolina equestrian team is set to take on Fresno State Friday afternoon, taking its two-meet winning streak out west.
After beating Texas A&M on Halloween, the Gamecocks advanced their record to 2-2 overall, 2-1 in the conference. Their SEC matchups are over for the fall semester, but the team is motivated to keep the success going.
“I’m feeling really good getting ready to go on the road," head coach Boo Major said. "I think we’re going to have a team that has a little bit more confidence on the reigning side.”
Major also emphasized the role confidence plays in their performances when she said, “I think we need to settle down, as far as competing on the road and try to take the confidence we got [winning against Texas A&M] and against Auburn and take it with us on the road when we go against Fresno State.”
The Fresno State Bulldogs are currently 0-2 overall, 0-1 in their conference. While South Carolina holds the No. 3 slot in the National Collegiate Equestrian Association’s rankings, Fresno State tumbled out of the top ten.
“We haven’t been there in three or four years, so this is going to be a new experience for most of our girls," Major said. "So it’s going to be a new experience for them, and they’ve got to be able to go out there and give it all they got.”
The teams met in Blythewood last year, resulting in a 17-3 South Carolina win. However, the Gamecocks’ 1-1 away record shows that Friday’s matchup could go either way.
No matter the result, Major believes important lessons can be learned.
“In the long run, win or lose, it helps us prepare for SEC [matches]," she said. "It also helps us prepare for the national championship. It’s much harder to get a win on the road, so anytime you can get a win on the road, you’re tickled to death.”
Strong performances were abundant as South Carolina fought against the Aggies. Senior Katherine Schmidt is coming off a fantastic showing, going two-for-two Friday and earning her 21st MVP honor. She’s five away from breaking the team record of 26 MVPs.
Fellow senior Sam Chiodo built upon her score, now 4-0 in horsemanship. It was also a good day for freshman Bailey Walters, who earned her first collegiate win in reigning.
With many riders making leaps and bounds in their performances, morale is high for South Carolina. Self-assurance will be a large factor in how things shake out Friday afternoon.
It’s hard to say how they will execute on Fresno State’s home turf, yet Major has faith that her team will do whatever it takes to bring home a win.
“For us, the most valuable thing is that we’re going to get more experience and a lot more confidence," she said, "and hopefully come out with a couple more wins.”