Forced to leave senior standout Senter Johnson at home due to illness and instead start freshman reserve Stan Feldman, who also became sick by game time, the men’s polo team ended up on the losing side of a 19-15 contest at Skidmore Friday night. Somehow, though, the Red still got the win.
“It was a funky situation,” explained polo head coach David Eldredge ’81.
Having only two players able to play in the game, Skidmore forfeited to Cornell. But, rather than waste the weekend, the Red still traveled to Skidmore to play an exhibition match with a coach stepping in as the third player for the Thoroughbreds.
“It turned into a pretty good situation for us since Senter was sick and then Feldman had to play sick,” commented Eldredge.
Illness has plagued the men’s polo team throughout the fall campaign. Beginning with junior starter Nick Grew earlier in the season, and now with the sickness of Johnson and Feldman, Eldredge fears that the trend will continue with senior Jeff Markle, another key player for the team.
“Now Markle is due for sickness,” explained Eldredge. “Illness is killing our team.”
With only two days remaining until the start of the Cornell-hosted Bill Field Tournament, featuring some of the best teams in the nation, the Red’s chances of winning the event will ride on its ability to get all its players healthy in time.
“Our chances are pretty good,” said Eldredge, “as long as we’re healthy.”
Though the women’s squad has been able to stay healthy, they have been slightly slowed by injuries. Having hurt her wrist against Skidmore last weekend, senior starter Harriet Antczak was limited to just one half of playing time against the Teabrook Polo Club Saturday night. Nevertheless, the women dominated the second half on their way to an impressive 17-4 victory.
However, the score does not actually portray how close the game was. In fact, the Red only led 5-4 at the half, with the one-goal advantage coming on an inadvertent score made on her own goal by one of the Teabrook players.
Cornell, though, came out on fire in the second-half, scoring five times in the third chukker, and then adding seven more in the fourth while holding Teabrook scoreless throughout both periods. The game marked the third consecutive victory for the Red where it’s doubled its halftime score in the third chukker.
“We got a couple of good bounces, made a few good plays, and really took the wind out of their sails,” commented Eldredge. “[Senior Marisa Bianchi] caught fire at the beginning of the second-half and then [senior Molly Buck] was on fire in the fourth chukker.”
Meanwhile, junior substitute Lindsey Scheer got in some quality minutes while she filled in for the injured Antczak during the second half.
“Lindsey has played really well of late,” said Eldredge about his first reserve. “She has really gotten into the flow of the games.”
Heading into the Field Invitational this week, Eldredge feels confident that his players are ready to deal with some of the best teams in the nation.
“We have excellent chances to win the tournament,” commented the coach.
Archived article by Scott Reich