Last time a sport besides polo on the East Hill went perfect it was 1970 — the year of the Big Red hockey machine. Ask most coaches if the team goal is an unblemished mark and its likely they’ll laugh.
That is unless you’re men’s and women’s polo head coach David Eldredge ’81. His lady’s varsity club has dropped just one regular season contest in the last two campaigns en route to two national title games and a national championship crown last year.
The women riders are off to another fast start. Undefeated in its first three games, the Red places its unblemished mark on the line when it visits a young Skidmore squad Friday before journeying to New Haven for a Sunday affair with Ivy League foe Yale.
Last season the squad spanked both challengers.
With sophomore Taylor McLean sporting some of the polo play in her young career on the East Hill, the squad looks even more dominant this year. The hard-riding, hard-hitting local product notched five goals last weekend at home against the Huskies. The Red pounded UConn 20-7.
Freshman Marisa Bianchi has added additional fuel to Eldredge’s crew. The highly touted recruit has not disappointed. She co-led Cornell with seven scores in last Saturday’s match. Bianchi owned the third chukker with four goals, matching the Huskies output in the period.
By half-time the Red owned a commanding 10-1 lead. It would not look back.
Junior Liz Antzcak once again played inspiring polo. Assuming the position vacated by the traveling Melissa Riggs, she has surpassed all expectations. Antzcak has shown the ability to play a high octane style, complete with several sharp break away opportunities. She matched Bianchi’s performance with a seven goal effort.
Indeed the balanced offensive distribution among the riders has been a key to their success. Last year Riggs commanded the offense for the most part, but it appears from early signals that the scoring wealth will be more evenly shared this year.
Meanwhile senior Ali Tracey saw her first playing time of the year. She scored the squad’s final goal. The club’s reserves, including promising freshman Molly Buck, ensure the long term success of the program.
On the other side of the camp, conditions are much the same as the men are keyed to capture the national crown this year, after falling just short last season.
The Red are off to a 2-0 mark after posting a 16-13 win over M-Polo, a talented club team from western New York.
The riders have been led by senior transfer Jeff Embow. After capturing the national crown during his stay at Colorado State, the vision of another shimmering trophy looms large in the Florida native’s eyes.
He led the squad with a magnificent seven goal performance in play last weekend.
Classmate Ben McClintic added two goals and provided intangible sparks to the squad’s efforts. With his increasing speed, his game is rapidly improving under Eldredge’s auspices and he should be an integral component in Cornell’s championship drive.
Brazil native junior Renato Periera has been solid defensively. In what should be his first complete season since his freshman year, his contributions will be invaluable to the Red’s efforts to return to the national championships.
The Red should have no problem handling its weekend opponent, Yale, whom it will do battle with this evening in New Haven.
The men then face a crucial match against perennial powerhouse Virginia the following weekend.
Archived article by Gary Schueller