October 23, 2000

Polo Teams Defeat All Challengers

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Proving that history does repeat itself, the Cornell women’s polo team trounced UConn on Saturday, 20-5. Last week the Red returned from Storrs, Conn., victors in a 17-3 contest.

Freshman Marissa Bianchi, who has posted a strong start to the season, opened the scoring for the Red.

The Red added two goals courtesy of sophomore Taylor McLean, including a crisp back-handed shot. In the final minute of play of the first chukker, junior Liz Antczak converted on a dazzling breakaway opportunity. After the first seven and a half minutes, the scoreboard read Cornell 5, UConn 1.

Despite showing some troubles finishing in front of the goal, the Red broke the game open in the second chukker, firing in five goals in the frame.

McLean led the offensive barrage with three tallies including a conversion on a 25-yard penalty shot. After the Lansing native clanked a shot of the post in the opening minute of the chukker, Antczak found the ball in the ensuing scuffle and hammered it home to extend to a 6-1 lead for the Red.

It was a Bianchi show in the third chukker as the highly touted rookie showed why the program has placed so much stock in her. She scored four goals in the period and just missed a chance at a fifth. Antczak added two scores.

UConn continued to play up-tempo, and Schultz scored three more times in the opening stanza of the second half but the Red’s defense clamped down to preserve the lead.

In the final chukker Antzcak was once again fabulous. She dashed into the Cornell offensive end just thirty seconds into play en route to another two goals. The Ithaca product finished with seven goals, leading all scorers.

Having inserted senior Alie Tracey into the No. 2 slot at the opening of the second half, head coach David Eldredge ’81 saw his substition bear fruition when she scored her first goal of the season and the team’s 20th of the day in the final chukker.

Friday night the men’s club improved to 2-0 trumping M-Power, a club team from western New York, 16-13.

Senior Jeff Embow tied the offensive production of the opponent, accounting for 13 of the Cornell points.

He opened the scoring, and after classmate Ben McClintic had made it 2-0 for Cornell, Embow made the play of the game, converting on a terrific two-point goal. Midway through the first chukker, he nailed a turn-around, back-handed shot from just beyond the midfield line. The ball sailed past the goal line, lighting the lamp and extending to a 3-0 advantage for the Red.

The senior Colorado State transfer scored the next five goals for the club. With one chukker in the books, the riders jumped out to an 8-1 lead.

Freshman Senter Johnson saw his first action in the second chukker of play, replacing McClintic at the No. 2 slot. Although he did not score, he turned in a solid effort.

Asked to comment on playing his first game for Cornell, Johnson remarked, “It was a lot of fun. It was good to get things started.”

Knowing that expectations would be high from the start, the rookie said, “[It] was easier knowing that the team has older guys like Jeff and Renato with lots of experience.”

Johnson faces the challenge of adjusting to arena polo. He had only played outdoor before coming to the East Hill. The complexion of the game is vastly different. Outdoors there are four players aside competing for six chukkers, compared to the three who endure four period of play indoors. The outdoor field is substantially larger occupying the size of 9 football fields.

In the second chukker of play, M-Power closed the gap a bit, behind the efforts of former Cornell player Mike Zeliger ’92. Playing at the No. 3 position, he was responsible for eight of his squad’s 13 points.

Junior Renato Pereira notched the 10th goal for the Red to preserve the advantage. But the Brazilian’s strong defensive showing was his primary contribution. He thwarted several of the M-Power’s numerous scoring opportunities.

At the intermission, the Red was in front by an 11-6 margin.

Junior Kevin Tang assumed the No. 1 position coming out of the break. Slade Sharpstein, the visitor’s No. 2 man, and Zeliger each scored once in the third chukker, but Embow countered with two goals of his own to preserve the margin of advantage entering the final chukker.

With McClintic again paired with Embow in the fourth chukker, the Red faced some trouble capitalizing on opportunities in front of the goal. Yet Embow managed to tally the game winner and was followed by a goal by McClintic, sealing the victory. He displayed his improving speed, something Eldredge has worked with him on in the last two seasons.

With both squads turning in impressive performances, all is well in the Cornell camp.

“I’m very happy with the way things are progressing,” affirmed Eldredge.

Archived article by Gary Schueller