The men’s and women’s polo teams gained matching victories in their competitions on the road this weekend at Colorado State. Going up against the Rams in a tight match that stretched into four rounds of shootouts, the men took the 16-15 win over CSU. The women, on the other hand, overpowered their opponent from the first chukker, winning, 23-4, to remain undefeated this season. The men’s game on Friday proved a constant struggle for the Red to close the scoring gap — that is until Cornell’s fourth chukker comeback. “We had to adjust to the arena and the horses but once we were able to adjust we started to get into a rhythm and we shortened the lead several times,” said Cornell sophomore Connor Pardell. The Rams earned an early 6-2 lead in the first chukker, forcing the Red to stay on its toes to make up some ground. At the halfway point, Cornell reduced its opponent’s lead to 8-6, and still trailed by two at the end of the third. CSU was able to get its early scoring advantage partially because Cornell needed time to figure out the quirks of the unfamiliar arena. “The biggest thing is just figuring out how to more quickly adapt our playing style to the arena we are playing in and the people we’re playing against,” said sophomore Branden Van Loon. The Red built up the needed momentum to overtake CSU’s scoring lead in the fourth chukker. Yet after gaining a 14-13 advantage late in the quarter, Cornell quickly lost its lead when the Rams notched in two more goals of their own. “We all looked at each other and we knew that, after flying all the way out here, we didn’t want to lose,” Pardell said. “We just put as much energy and effort as we could and we came back.” Pardell scored in the final seconds of play to tie the game at 15-all and bring the match into overtime shootout rounds. “We were in high-stress mode and so we were trying anything we could to get the ball down towards our goal,” Pardell said. “I used all the effort and energy and muscle I had to put in the last goal in the last few seconds. I was so excited. I was going insane because I knew I had tied it up with a few seconds to go.” After matching points with the Rams during the first three shootout rounds—2-2 in the first and 1-1 in the second and third—Cornell captured the win in the fourth round. Van Loon scored the winning point for Cornell, ending the game with a 16-15 Red victory. “It was a relief,” Van Loon said. “My foul shots that game had been slightly off…for some reason I could not get my horse lined up properly for the first two penalty shots…the fourth one was a good solid one that I felt like I could end on.” The women overwhelmed the Rams in scoring throughout the match. CSU’s team was hindered after one of its starting players was injured during the first chukker. Cornell led, 3-1, at the end of the first and kept the lead for the remainder of the match. The Red was ahead at the half, 9-2, and then shut out CSU in the third to reach a comfortable lead of 15-2 going into the fourth. In the final chukker, Cornell continued its scoring trend and allowed only two goals to arrive at the final score, 23-4. Senior Lizzie Wisner and freshman Kailey Eldredge each contributed nine goals in the match, while senior Jess Cross notched three and two came courtesy of junior Ali Hoffman.
Original Author: Laura Dwulet