Following a weekend of wins, the men’s and women’s Polo teams prepare to face Skidmore at home. The women’s team will kick off the weekend’s matches Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Oxley Equestrian Center, followed on Saturday afternoon by the men.
Having soundly defeated the Thoroughbreds three times already this season, the women’s team (7-4) looks to use the game as a chance to prepare for the approaching Regional Championships on March 29.
“We outplay [Skidmore] usually,” said senior captain Ali Hoffman. “I can foresee us having the same type of play and being confident going into the game.”
According to Hoffman, the women will look, in particular, to improve communication and positioning on the field.
Similarly, the men’s team (6-4) aims for another solid defeat of the Thoroughbreds, as they shutout Skidmore 44-0 earlier in the season.
With the ability to go in with confidence and less pressure, sophomore Nik Feldman said that it will be “good to get out there … and back in the swing of things.”
According to Feldman, playing Skidmore will be a less stressful game before the following match against No.1 University of Virginia.
“Thinking ahead to UVA, this game against Skidmore will be a good chance to work on areas that need improvement, such as practicing passing and working on rhythm during the chukkers,” he said.
For both teams, the focus is clearly on the important matches fast approaching, specifically Regionals and Nationals.
“For the men and women, we always have that long term goal that we would like to get the [National] title,” said head coach David Eldredge ’81. “The first and most pressing goal is to defend their regional titles. The University of Connecticut has strong teams [for men and women] and it’s not going to be a walk over by any means.”
Earlier in the season, the men were able to squeak out a win over Connecticut, 20-14, but the women fell, 17-11. The two teams will likely meet again in Regionals.
After last season, in which the women’s team finished undefeated and won a national title, the Red has a lot to live up to.
“The quality of the team last year is hard to replicate. The game and quality of play is definitely affected,” Hoffman said. “We’re looking at all of these games as stepping stones. The mindset we have is to take it one thing at a time, and that every game gets you to where you want to be.”
As the momentum builds this season, both teams are working to polish their team dynamics and strategy.
“For the women, it is a matter of them fine-tuning their working relationship, getting stronger and stronger every time they play,” David Eldredge said. “It’s a big bonus that we’re getting to play a team that we plan to take into tournaments, especially Hoffman, and [sophomore Kailey Eldredge].”
For the men, David Eldredge emphasized that the Red needs more consistency.
“The win last week was big for them, and hopefully we will add to that,” he said.
Original Author: McKenna Archer