All the weeks of practice and matches have been leading up to one event for the Cornell polo teams: Eastern Regionals. The men’s and women’s teams will play the semi-final winners this weekend in the Eastern Regional Polo Championships held at Oxley Equestrian Center. Due to a format change, only four teams will travel to Ithaca this weekend, none of which will be Virginia.
The two teams in the men’s bracket are the University of Connecticut and the Valley Forge Military Academy. They will face each other tomorrow and the winner will play Cornell on Saturday. Likewise, the UConn and Skidmore women’s teams will follow a similar format, with the winner playing the lady riders on Saturday.
In the women’s bracket, UConn appears to hold an advantage over Skidmore. The Huskies have strong starters in Martha Brown and Rachel Ward, both of whom scored in double digits in the team’s previous rout of Skidmore.
Brown and Ward also bring the edge of experience and leadership to UConn. Ward is currently the team captain, while Brown has played in polo matches all over the world. The freshman first learned how to play polo in England.
UConn is the favorite in the men’s bracket due to chemistry and age. Since Valley Forge is a two-year academy, there is a greater rate of turnover and a smaller amount of development. The academy should not be completely discredited, however, as it has held its own against national polo powerhouses such as Purdue.
Should either Cornell team face UConn in the finals, both men and women will have plenty of experience to draw from. Recently, head coach David Eldredge ’86 has gone to great lengths to improve the level of competition, as both teams have faced off against accomplished club teams over the past few weeks. The Red has also handled UConn before.
For the men, it was a 17-12 victory in the fall. While the team may have had to comeback for a win then, things should be significantly different now that all three starters have more experience under their belts.
The women have had an equally dominating experience against UConn. Currently ranked No. 1 in the nation, the lady riders have dominated most of the teams they have played this season.
Archived article by Matt Janiga