After wrapping up the Bill Field Invitational and taking Thanksgiving weekend off, the men and women’s polo teams return to regular season play when the men host the Baltimore Polo Club on Friday and the women take on Stanford at Oxley on Saturday. This weekend marks the end of first semester play for both squads, who will face some new opponents in addition to regular rivals when they begin again after winter break.
The men return to the arena following a close 23-24 semifinals defeat to Colorado State — one of the top teams in the country. Colorado moved on to the tournament final but lost by one goal to UVA — a team that had beaten the Red by nine goals earlier in the season. The close finish among the top three teams sets up what will likely be highly competitive regional and national tournaments.
In an effort to continue to play against highly skilled opponents, the Red take a break from regular collegiate play this weekend and instead face the Baltimore Polo Club, an adult team consisting of former college players. According to head Coach David Eldredge ’81, the match-up should provide a good challenge for the men.
“I expect it to be pretty tough,” he said. “They’re an experienced team [and] they have some good players.”
The competition will look different for the women, who face a Stanford squad they have dominated in all five previous match-ups. However, the two teams haven’t met in ten years, which makes the game harder to predict.
“For the women, I expect that we should be successful,” Eldredge said. “I do not think they’re going to be the level of Colorado State or UVA or Kentucky. However, we don’t know so we’re not taking them lightly by any means … it’s just another opponent that’s coming in, we don’t know and it gives us a very good chance to further improve our team.”
If the women were to emerge victorious, the team would end the semester undefeated at a perfect 10-0. The Red’s most recent match was in the tournament final against UVA, which ended in a come-from-behind 20-16 win against the defending national champions. Although Stanford likely will not be as skilled as the teams the Red faced in that tournament, senior captain Ali Hoffman emphasized the need to take all matches seriously.
“Every game is a learning experience and should be treated as such,” she said. “You owe it both to yourself and the team you’re competing against to give as good a game as possible.”
Original Author: Emily Berman