In a huge weekend for Cornell’s polo squads, the Red proved that it has undeniably the best men’s and women’s teams in the nation. In dual wins over the University of Virginia’s teams (both considered national powerhouses), Cornell’s riders showed the full extent of their national dominance.
Although missing a few of its starting riders, Virginia’s men came into this weekend expecting to challenge the Red in a tight match. What happened was a 17-13 Cornell win that solidified its spot at the top of the national collegiate field.
“We needed to control the tempo and dictate the game from the outset,” head coach Dave Eldredge ’86 stated.
Star Jeff Embow responded to his coach’s call with a strong first half, controlling the play through the first three chukkers and once again leading the Red’s strong offensive attack.
The third period saw somewhat of a loss of momentum for the Red, ending with UVA having caught up to tie the score going into the final period. Once again the Red responded by pouring it on, eventually taking a seven-goal lead into the game’s final minute and a half.
From that point, the Red coasted home, winning a tense battle of national importance.
The game also saw the return of Cornell’s Javier Alcover who experienced his first game action in over a year, having been on leave for the last two semesters. Alcover adds another dimension to the team, strengthening an already loaded Red line-up.
“Having Jav(ier) back was really a bonus for us, it made this big game even more fun for us,” added Embow.
This weekend’s win over Virginia, considered the no. 2 team in the East (behind the Red) improved the men’s record to 12-1 overall and preserved its unbeaten mark in collegiate play.
The women added an equally impressive showing against UVA, winning decisively 26-7. Once again Virginia brought a depleted squad to Friday’s game, missing two of its starting riders. The Red, disappointed by the arrival of a shorthanded UVA team, responded with a sluggish start, crawling to 5-4 lead at the end of the first chukker.
“We knew that they weren’t at full strength, and we struggled to psyche ourselves up coming into the first period,” said Melissa Riggs.
The second chukker saw a much more focused Red squad come out and do what it does best — dominate. The period would end having seen the Red storm to a 13-5 lead behind Taylor McLean’s four goals.
The remainder of the game was a test of Cornell’s depth as all riders played at least two full chukkers.
“It was good to see that we fought the initial disappointment and played an eye-opening second chukker, allowing us to coast to a very good win for us,” observed Eldredge.
The Red now rides high into its final weeks before the Regional and National tournaments where it is expected to maintain its spot at the national competition.
Archived article by Sun Staff