March 25, 2003

Polo Teams Dominate In Eastern Regionals

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The Red riders have once again shown their dominance in the field. This past week in the Eastern Regional tournament both men’s and women’s polo scored two victories to continue on the road to the national championships.

The women began by slaughtering Skidmore 32-4. The Red was the expected winner, having already defeated Skidmore handily at the beginning of the season. Head Coach David Eldredge ’81 took advantage of the match-up to play seven riders on the team. The sound victory gave the women confidence for their game against UConn.

While the women experienced some difficulty finding the goal, Eldredge described the outset of the next match as complete dominance.

“We felt confident going into the game,” said Eldredge, “and absolutely dominated in the first chukker but only came out ahead 3-2. UConn has young but good riders and [they] stuck with us well.”

UConn’s luck did not prevail in the second, however, as the Red jumped ahead on an 8-1 scoring run to put the riders up 11-3 at the half when Eldredge pulled Harriet Antczak to substitute in Molly Buck. Again Cornell continued to increase its lead to finish off with a 19-5 victory. Eldredge also pulled senior Taylor McLean in the last chukker to avoid a repeat of her injury.

The two victories put the women in the No. 1 seed for the rest of the tournament. On April 3, the riders will ride against U.C. Davis, who they beat by 10 goals in the Fall. The women then await either Colorado State or UVA. Eldredge could not decisively predict who his squad would face in the finals but noted that Colorado State, while not favorites on paper, might have an edge in the game.

The men riders also had a “delightful” weekend in the words of Eldredge.

“It was a very tough game for us,” said Eldredge of the men’s second game. “[Jacob] LeClair and [Senter] Johnson had a lot of trouble and their top player played an unconventional game. We had a lot of trouble pulling away, but ended winning 20-14.”

The mood going into the Valley Forge game was uncertain. Eldredge expected a win, but after the tight UConn game was unsure of the future. In a rather unexpected turn of events, though, the men turned their play around to crush Valley Forge.

“I expected the Valley Forge game to be a close game,” said Eldredge, “but was pleasantly surprised that the guys were able to turn around 180 degrees and dominate the game.”

The men outscored Valley Forge 8-3 in the first chukker and 6-2 in the second, finishing with a crushing 28-11 blowout. According to Eldredge, Johnson and LeClair turned their game around entirely and were able to play at the top of their game, assisted by the consistent play of Jeff Markle.

“We put together four strong chukkers and blew the doors off Valley Forge,” said Eldredge. “They were surprised, coming in confident after the UConn game, but we came out strong and they tried to stay with us but lost their momentum after the half.”

Archived article by Josh Dormont