November 20, 2003

Riders Takes Round One in Tourney

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The men’s polo team (6-1) had plenty to be concerned about heading into last night’s game against Yale in the Cornell-hosted Bill Field Invitational. Having been slowed by the poor health of two of the team’s top four players over the past week, the team was also facing its first true test since its 19-15 loss to Connecticut two weeks ago. Nevertheless, the Red silenced those worries almost immediately, grabbing an early 6-0 lead on their way to a solid 26-8 win over the Eli’s.

“I am very happy with the performance of the team,” said polo head coach David Eldredge ’81 about the game.

With senior star player Senter Johnson back in the starting line-up after missing the weekend’s game due to illness, Cornell dominated the first half while building a 14-4 half time lead. Johnson appeared to be perfectly healthy while scoring eight times in the first two chukkers.

“Senter came out and played really well,” commented other senior standout, Jeff Markle.

Appearing to have the game in hand, Eldredge elected to rest Johnson in the second half while giving sophomore EJ Chin his first chance to play this year. Chin took over the substitute role for freshman Stan Feldman, as Feldman continues to be hampered by illness.

“EJ got the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Eldredge.

Chin agreed with that sentiment, saying, “I’m just so happy I got to play.”

The Red followed the same pattern as it did in the first half, scoring six times to begin the second half before Yale was able to muster a goal. Leading 22-6 after three chukkers, the team than added a strong final period to finish off the victory.

Scoring ten times in the second half, including a streak of six straight from the end of the third chukker and into the fourth, the senior Jeff Markle ended with a game high 13 goals. Meanwhile, junior Nick Grew played a solid defensive game for Cornell while also adding two goals of his own.

“Jeff played a super game,” commented Eldredge.

Markle complimented all his teammates about their play against the Eli’s.

“It was a good game and we got to work on some things,” he said. “Senter played really well and then EJ stepped in and played well. Nick also picked up a lot of the slack. We’ll take what we got here and move on the next game.”

That next match will take place against Valley Forge Military Academy tomorrow at 7:15 p.m. A win in that game would clinch the Red a place in the championship game Sunday against the winner of the other bracket, which includes Virginia, Connecticut and Purdue.

The women kick off their tournament play with a 5:45 game against Skidmore today. Riding high on a five game win streak, including a 17-9 win over the Thoroughbreds two weeks ago, Cornell appears ready to take on some of the top team’s in the country during the tournament.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said senior starter Marisa Bianchi on the upcoming games.

About the Skidmore game, she predicted that, “it’ll be a little bit better of a game this time because the arena’s bigger