The men’s and women’s polo teams lit up the national scene this weekend during the William S. Field Invitational. The men took second place, loosing only to Virginia, while the women left the Oxley Equestrian center as tournament champions.
The women defeated Yale and U.C. Davis to win their bracket. Both games were blowouts as the lady riders combined for more than 20 goals a game. The team also performed well defensively, holding Yale to five points, and U.C. Davis to three.
Yesterday’s championship match saw the women face off against the University of Virginia. Though these two teams tied in Virginia last weekend, things went differently at Oxley, as the Cornell trounced its opponent 19-9.
Cornell controlled the entire game, spreading UVA out and clearing a path to the goal. Head coach David Eldrege ’81 knew his team could win, but the margin of victory caught him off guard.
“It was a surprise for me,” said Eldredge. “I did not expect a 10-goal difference.”
The championship team for the lady riders consisted of juniors Harriet Antczak and Marisa Bianchi, sophomore Molly Buck and senior Taylor McLean. Senior Audrey Robertson and Kristen Taylor also contributed during the tournament run.
The men defeated both Yale and Colorado State to reach the final where they found themselves facing off against UVA. Unlike the women however, the men would not be able to salvage a win.
The game got off to a fast start, with UVA scoring six points in the first chukker. Cornell’s only goal of the period came at the buzzer as junior Senter Johnson railed one into the goal. The Red then opened the second chukker with a goal and it looked like things were back on track. At on point the men trailed UVA by just three goals.
UVA kept its fast and furious pacing in the second half, scoring 12 unanswered goals. A combination of Virginia’s Santiago Auellan and Willie Hartnett was successful in keeping the Red offense at bay.
Cornell began a rally early in the fourth chukker, but it was too late. UVA would close the game with a final score of 28-11. Cornell’s tournament team consisted of seniors Jacob LeClair and Jeff Markle, and Johnson. Senior Darren James and sophomore Nick Grew also contributed throughout the tournament.
Despite the loss, team members were not discouraged. Instead, they recognized their opponents’ skill.
“They are a very experienced team,” said Johnson. “Willie and Santiago are two of the top players around.”
For Eldrege, the biggest accomplishment of the men’s weekend was their 17-12 victory over Colorado State. The win was an indication of how the team has grown after its one goal loss in last year’s national tournament.
“We wanted to know where we stood with Colorado State,” said Eldrege. “We knew they were good, just not how good.”
Both teams will resume action at the Oxley Equestrian Center after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Archived article by Matt Janiga