The Cornell women’s polo team faced off against Southern Methodist University at Oxley Equestrian Center on Saturday. After a slow first chukker for the Red, the women eventually thrashed SMU, 27-3, to increase the team’s record to 11-0.
Despite controlling play in the first chukker, the Red had trouble finding the goal and only led 4-1 at the end of the opening frame. The team dominated the second chukker, however, by a score of 10-0 and crushed SMU, 8-0, in the third as part of an unstoppable 21-goal scoring streak.
“I think we were definitely stronger than we thought we were going to be in general,” said senior captain Ali Hoffman. “Obviously, the first chukker was a little bit rough. We were getting back into our groove, making sure we had the communication skills we had going into our win at [the Bill Field Invitational] and getting back in sync with each other … All in all, it was very positive and much better than what any of us expected.”
Hoffman, junior captain Kailey Eldredge and freshman Devin Cox started the game for the Red. Freshman Anna Winslow swapped with Hoffman for the third chukker, but Hoffman and alternate Beth LeBow substituted for Cox and Eldredge to finish out the game in the final chukker. Eldredge, the team’s overall leading scorer, again led the Red with nine goals in three chukkers, while Cox and Hoffman followed with six goals each.
Although head coach David Eldredge ’81 said SMU may have been caught off guard by the Red’s high level of play, he added that the Mustangs provided a solid level of competition.
“They were challenging enough that they made us actually do things properly, so that we would actually get to work on the things we needed to,” he said.
Eldredge highlighted that the women’s team is working towards efficiency around the goal. By improving efficiency, he noted that the Red will pose a more dominant scoring threat.
While this weekend’s game was supposed to be a warm-up for next weekend’s game against rival Virginia, a scheduling conflict involving one of the Cavaliers’ women’s players pushed the match against UVA two weeks back in the schedule.
Instead, the men’s team will be back in action against Skidmore on Friday after its game against SMU was cancelled due to weather conditions that prevented the Mustang men from arriving in Ithaca. The women’s team does not currently have a game scheduled for next weekend. According to Eldredge, the schedule change has some positive effects.
“In some ways, we’re happier with it, because it gives us a chance to even prepare a little bit more for the UVA team coming in,” he said.
Hoffman added that the game against SMU showed the team that there is still work to do to get back into prime playing mode.
“We’re definitely going to need to work to get back in shape,” she said. “[The game] was tough, but it was good.”
Original Author: Emily Berman