With the competition for the national championship looming only days away, the men’s and women’s polo squads will have one final regular-season match up this weekend against Maryland’s club team.
The men (11-5) claimed their 12th East Regional title — the team’s third consecutive title — with a 59-16 score in the two matches against Connecticut. After falling in the finals of the national tournament last year, the Red is preparing to work out some kinks in the match up with Maryland tomorrow.
“This is a tune-up game for us,” said head coach Dave Eldredge ’81. “We’ll be working on the little things to make ourselves better. An example is controlling the throw-ins. We’ve been up and down most of the year on this, so it’s our job now to tie up loose ends.”
This has been a tale of two semesters for the men’s polo squad. The first semester gave Eldredge a chance to give some of the younger athletes a chance to play and gain experience while the older stars were abroad.
Freshman Brian Fairclough even got an opportunity to step in as a starter due to his strong play first semester. The second semester brought some of the veterans back and gives Eldredge a very deep team.
“This is the most depth I’ve seen on one of my teams ever, I think,” Eldredge said. “I’ve been very happy with the progression of our season, and winning a regional is always a tough accomplishment. I’m proud of the growth of all my players, and expect good things as we move to the playoffs.”
Led by seniors Senter Johnson and Jeff Markle, who each made the All-East squad recently, the Red sits as the No. 2 seed in the tournament, behind Virginia. The Red will face Texas A&M on their home field on April 5 in Fort Worth, Tex., in their attempt to capture the title that eluded them last year.
The women, similarly, beat the No. 1 ranked Huskies 19-18, on the road to capture their eighth straight Regional title. While finishing with a 9-7 record on the year, the victory placed the women as the No. 1 seed in the tournament that will begin on April 7 in Texas.
“I can’t describe the victory against UConn,” Eldredge said. “We were down one in the last chukker, and our senior stars really gutted out the victory. It was so huge for a number of reasons. It put us in the nationals as the No. 1 seed, gave us the regional title and showed us how to win a very tough game on the road.”
Starting seniors Lindsey Scheer, Harriet Antzcak and All-East star Molly Buck provide the strength for this defending champion team.
This will be their last nationals tournament, and they hope to ride into the sunset with another championship.
“This upcoming tournament is really important to me,” said sophomore Ariel Katz, “because I’ve grown up with Molly and Harriet. I’ve seen them play for so long and they’ve been athletic role models to me. Since it’s going to be their last time in the arena, I just hope the best for them.”
“Having such sound leaders on both my teams — Johnson and Markle on the men’s, and Molly and Harriet on the women’s — has been such a positive force for us throughout the year,” Eldredge said.
The men’s last home contest of the year begins tomorrow at 8:15 p.m. at the Oxley Equestrian Center, while the women’s last home competition is set for tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Archived article by Josh Fox
Sun Staff Writer