November 11, 2003

Polo Squads Split Directions, Weekend Games

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Senior, Harriet Antczak, had a breakout game last Friday as the women’s polo team defeated Skidmore 17-9. With the Red missing the goal scoring presence of senior Molly Buck, Antczak stepped up to fill the offensive hole, scoring 11 goals in the game.

“Harriet kind of broke out of her shell this weekend,” commented head coach David Eldredge ’81. “Without Molly there, she picked up the slack a little bit and she did quite well.”

The Red, while still adjusting to the smaller sized arena at Skidmore, was tied with the Thoroughbreds after the first chukker.

“What happens to us in a smaller arena like that is you tend to get in each other’s way,” said Eldredge of the playing field, “and that can effect your play and how successful you are.”

Antczak contributed four goals in the second Chukker to help give the Red a one-goal, 7-6 lead coming into halftime. In the third chukker Cornell proceeded to put the game out of reach for Skidmore shutting them out 7-0, with five of the seven coming off Antczak’s mallet. The Red then settled back, coasting to a 3-3 tie in the fourth chukker, securing the win.

Eldredge was pleased with Antczak’s ability to step up from her normally defensive position and make such significant contributions on the offensive end of the field.

“Usually she’s just back there to shut things down,” he said, “But she has an offensive side of her that is very good too, and she showed it too in this game.”

Senior Marissa Bianchi had five goals in the game and junior Lindsey Scheer added one.

Men’s polo

The men’s polo team suffered its first loss of the year Sunday, falling 19-15 to Connecticut. The Red dropped UConn, 20-6, in its previous meeting with the Huskies on Oct. 18, yet Cornell could not repeat its performance this time around.

“What happened out there was exactly what I was afraid of going into the weekend,” commented Eldredge. “You’re doing well and people want to go out there and knock you off. We had a little bit of that attitude that maybe they were just going to hand [the victory] to us.”

The Red came out well early in the game, playing the open, spread-out polo style, giving Cornell an early 6-0 lead in the first chukker. However, UConn was able to climb back into the game thanks in to unnecessary fouls committed by the Red, giving the Huskies all of their four goals in the first chukker.

“We kept them in the game by fouling and giving them the opportunity to score” said Eldredge. “It was 7-4 at the end of the first chukker when it could have possibly been 7-2 or 9-2.”

Cornell was unable to hold onto its first chukker lead, playing poorly in the second, and eventually losing the chukker 8-2. It entered the second half down 12-9.

“The second chukker is when the doors came off for us” remarked Eldredge. “They came out, and they put it together, and they played well, but we also fell into playing their game.”

He continued saying, “We got bunched up, we didn’t stay spread out and we ended up playing just basically pretty horribly in the second period.”

The Red regrouped at halftime, and its play in the second half was markedly improved, yet not enough to swing the eventual outcome of the game in its favor. Among the changes Eldredge made was to keep junior Nick Grew playing a more defensive role.

“It’s not to say that his skills weren’t there or that he was playing poorly,” remarked Eldredge “It’s just he was not in the proper positioning for us to be as successful as we can be.”

Eldredge, though, is not overly discouraged by his teams loss last weekend, and he anticipates next weekend’s match against Skidmore as a chance for the Red to get on track before the team hosts the Bill Field Invitational.

“I think we’ll bounce back from it” said Eldredge. “In some ways it’s good because it will hopefully make everybody wake up and go: ‘They’re not just going hand it to us. We’ve got to go out and earn this.'”

Archived article by Paul Testa