The Cornell women’s polo team will face its most formidable competition of the season when it travels to Charlottesville, Va. for an evening affair with rival Virginia today.
The two squads have dueled in the last two national title games, with the Red capturing the crown last year, but bowing to the Cavaliers in the previous matchup.
Head coach David Eldredge ’81 expects to meet a weakened club. Virginia stud Erin Dougherty’s choice to study abroad will cause her to miss this year’s campaign. Nevertheless, with the growing intensity of the rivalry, the lady riders will face an uphill battle on the road.
To maintain its unblemished record, the Red must finish better along the end walls and avoid bunching up. The squad has been absolutely dominant when it spreads the field well. The riders dismantled its most recent competition, Skidmore, in a home-and-home series.
Practices have been strong this week for Cornell. Eldredge reports that the club is very confident entering the game and is looking forward to getting a chance to “test the waters,” facing a nationally-ranked opponent.
As the semester comes to a close, the Red will face the challenge of restructuring its line-up when junior standout Melissa Riggs returns to the East Hill after spending a semester south of the equator.
Junior Liz Antzcak, who assumed the spot vacated by Riggs, has been outstanding. The highly-touted freshman Marissa Bianchi has been promising, posting a five goal performance last weekend. Sophomore Taylor McLean has become the squad’s premier threat. After a stellar freshman campaign, increasing confidence and hitting skills have made her an even more lethal weapon for the lady riders.
The men’s squad returns to the friendly confines of Oxley Equestrian center to face Skidmore after trumping Virginia 10-5 last Friday. Like its female counterparts, the Thoroughbreds are a growing program that the Red should dominate. Cornell has owned Skidmore in recent history.
Eldredge plans to use the opportunity to allow his bench some playing time. Ian Calder-Piedmont, Mike Jacobellis and Kevin Tang round out a trio of juniors that will start for the Red.
Tang looks to be competing for an alternate position in his second year on the squad. He performed well in limited playing time against M-Power earlier in the season.
Midway through the fall season, both squads are poised to continue their drives for national titles.
Archived article by Gary Schueller