Despite a rally in the fourth chukker, the Cornell women’s polo team came back empty handed with a 14-13 loss against its regional rival in UConn this past weekend.
The Red had the cards stacked against them for this game — they have starters that are still working on their gameplay together, the match occurred on UConn’s home field with UConn’s horses and the team had to travel a long distance to make it to its match.
Though this game has left the women with a losing record, the team is undeterred as it goes on to continue the rest of the season.
“I think getting out of a car after having driven for a significant amount of time and having gotten up very early to leave takes a toll on your playing,” said senior Emma Eldredge. “There is also always the home field advantage. In polo we aren’t just playing on a new area that this team practices on but for regular season games we use only their horses as well. Knowing the horses can be a serious advantage.”
Head coach David Eldredge — while disappointed with the loss — is rather happy with the experiences the match against UConn provided for his newly-meshing team.
“I was very happy with the effort and execution the women put forth,” he said. “Of course it would have been nice to win, but we are building a new team from scratch and to compete this early with an experienced team was very good.”
The Red started off the game strong with a pair of quick goals right off the bat. After the Huskies bounced back with a few goals of its own, the Red evened the score at four by the end of the first chukker.
This back-and-forth between the opposing teams continued throughout the game. Cornell pulled ahead during the second chukker, but UConn tied it up by the half, at seven goals. The Huskies ramped up play, giving the team a three goal lead by the fourth chukker. The Red tried to claw its way to a win, only to be shut down in the last minute with only one goal away from tying.
“It was pretty frustrating because we definitely played a game that I felt indicated that we should’ve won,” Noyes said.
Even though the game ended in a loss, the players and coaching staff overall were satisfied with the women’s performance.
“The three starters — Shariah Harris, Emma, and I — haven’t ever played together before as a trio, so every game that we lose or come close to winning is a learning experience for us,” Noyes said. “It gives us more drive to do better when we play them again.”
With every game, the three starters are learning each other’s strengths and weakness, leaving them more comfortable and confident with each other as they head into future matches.
“The women are gaining consistency and faith in each other,” the head coach said. “Emma and Harris have started to feed off of one another’s play. This is really good and what needs to happen for us to get stronger. Noyes had a good game and is improving her mallet skills which will only benefit the whole team in the long run.”
The Red is left with a 2-3 record as they prepare to face UConn yet again on Saturday, this time on home turf.