In a game that ended with the crowd on its feet in applause, Cornell’s efforts to knock of No. 1 Texas A&M fell just short, as the Aggies rode away with a 19-16 victory. Texas A&M avenged last year’s semifinal loss to the Red and earned a spot in Saturday night’s USPA national championship.
After freshman Bobby Harvey nailed a two point shot to tie the game 3-3 after the first chukker, the game remained an even battle till the last buzzer sounded. As the momentum swung back and forth in the second half, Cornell was able to pull within one goal midway through the final chukker, keeping the Aggies on their heels.
“You always get a little worried,” said Texas A&M junior Mason Wroe. “The game changes so quickly that unless you are up by 10, you get worried.”
Wroe was outstanding all evening long, as he proved why he is considered one of the top collegiate players in the country. His acrobatics while riding a pony may have even earned him a new nickname.
“He is like Gumby out there,” said Harvey, who found himself constantly matched up with Wroe throughout the night.Even in defeat, the Red’s head coach David Eldredge ’81 felt Cornell may have played its best game of the season, finally competing for an entire match against the best team in the nation.
“I am extremely proud of the boys,” Eldredge said. “We had to bring our A-game to compete with these guys and we did that.”
The Red returns all three of its starters – Harvey, sophomore Brian Fairclough, and junior Stan Feldman – for next season and will likely be one of the teams to beat in 2007.
“We will probably be one of the favorites heading into next season,” Feldman said.
Fairclough, who had seven goals on the night, including three in a little over a minute in the third chukker, will be looked at as one of the premier players in the country.
“I am hoping tonight will be a breakthrough for Brian,” Eldredge said. “He showed all of his skills, and he did it on the highest level of play.”
Although the game ends its season, the Red went out with a bang, with the team having no regrets.
“It was a really fun way to go out,” Harvey said. “We might have just played the national championship.”
With the men out, the women represent Cornell’s only remaining hope for a national title. They play at 5:00 p.m. in tonight’s semifinal match against Colorado State.
“I like the matchup,” Eldredge said. “The CSU squad is an unconventional team, which is dangerous. They will shoot from anywhere on the field.”
Colorado State is coming off a double-shootout victory over Virginia on Tuesday night and will look to continue its vacation in rainy Ithaca.
The Red, on the other had, needs to continue the solid play it showed in its second half comeback against Yale on Monday night.
“We have to play the way we did in the third chukker against Yale,” said junior Ariel Katz. “We have to play quick and aggressive, because they are a very competent team.”
Archived article by Patrick Blakemore
Sun Staff Writer