The No. 2 men’s and No. 1 women’s polo teams continued their winning ways by steamrolling over Purdue this weekend with scores of 22-9 and 30-5, respectively.
Junior Senter Johnson deviated from his normal game pace and exploded in the first chukker, racking up six goals in the process. Teammates junior Jeff Markle and senior Jacob LeClair were not as effective however, due partly to Purdue’s different style of play.
“It was a little frustrating for the guys because the game wasn’t as open as they would have liked,” said head coach David Eldrege ’86. “The Purdue team is a little unorthodox in their play.”
The Boilermakers were carried by Prethik Nidadudlu, who scored eight of their nine goals. To add to the Red’s frustration, Purdue’s other riders spent most of the match keeping the Red away from Nidadudlu.
It was defense that carried the Red through the second chukker as Johnson seemed to cool off. The junior eventually overcame his issues as he and the other riders took control of the third and fourth chukkers. Johnson finished the night with 15 of the Red’s 22 goals.
The women also started strong, heading into the second half with a seven goal lead. Senior Taylor McLean jump-started the team with five goals as she and her teammates combined for seven goals in the first chukker. The Red also held Purdue to just four first half goals.
With Eastern Regionals just a few weeks away, the coaching staff decided to mix up the riding lines. Each chukker saw a different combination of players including sophomore Molly Buck, juniors Harriet Antczak, Molly Hermanns, and Marisa Bianchi, and seniors Taylor McLean and Audrey Roberston.
Bianchi came up big in the third chukker and closed out the game for Cornell, scoring six more goals and her teammates to gain five more. A defensive push from the Red help Purdue to just one goal, allowing the team to relax a bit during the final minutes of the match.
McLean finished the game with a team leading with 10 goals. Bianchi and Buck followed with seven and five, respectively.
With the several players already performing at peak levels, Eldrege noted that as a coach, it will not be hard to maintain the team’s motivation through the upcoming weeks.
“They’re very driven on their own,” Eldrege said. “They don’t like to lose.”
Perhaps one of the largest driving factors is the record book. If McLean and her teammates stick to their winning ways, she will make Cornell history as the first lady rider to win four national championships.
Both teams return to action at Oxley this weekend. Game times are set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 8:15 p.m. on Saturday.
Archived article by Matt Janiga