December 5, 2003

Polo Teams Looking to Build Upon Fall Success

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In college athletics, filled with cinderella stories and compelling upsets, it is rare to find any team that can convincingly win every game it plays. However, in the case of the Cornell’s women’s polo team (8-1), there is only one word that can describe its tremendous fall season — domination.

Having won every game against a collegiate opponent by at least six goals, including five by double-digit margins, the only downside to the Red’s success is that it will have to wait until the spring to defend its national title.

First, though, the team will have to take care of Skidmore at 7:30 Friday night in Oxley to complete its undefeated record against collegiate teams in the fall season. Cornell’s sole loss came at the hands of the CNY Polo Club in the team’s season opener.

Having already notched two victories against the Thoroughbreds, 16 -7 at Skidmore and 24 – 2 in the Bill field invitational two weeks ago, head polo coach David Eldredge ’81 expects his team to have few problems earning the win.

“I don’t expect a tremendous amount of trouble,” said Eldredge. “They are a nice team to play and they ride well. It should be a nice game to finish out the semester .”

Besides acting as a good springboard into the 2004 season, Eldredge also hopes tthe game will help the Red breakout of a reoccurring pattern that has concerned the coach.

In many games throughout the fall season Cornell has struggled to establish early leads, only to finally pull away in the second half. Most recently this happened in the championship game of the Bill Field Invitational, as the Red led only 6-5 at the half before exploding for 14 goals in the second en route to a 20 -6 win.

“Other teams have been able to keep it close in the first half before we blow them out in the third chukker,” commented Eldredge. “We want to be able to do that in the first. We want to make our statements early and get off the mark quickly.”

Meanwhile, the men’s team (8-1) was also set to play Skidmore this weekend before the Thoroughbreds had to cancel the match due to injuries. Instead, the Red might face a club team from Gardenertown in an exhibition game Saturday afternoon.

“They are a good competitive squad,” said Eldredge of the club team. “They always give us a good game.”

Like the women, the men have also enjoyed a tremendous season, highlighted by winning the Bill Field Invitational championship over Connecticut — the only team to beat Cornell during the fall — two weeks ago.

“I feel very fortunate for what we accomplished,” said Eldredge about the Red’s success. “We are further along than I thought we’d be.”

However, Eldredge describes, the team must work on maintaining its style throughout the entire game. When opposing team’s have been able to keep Cornell from establishing its type of game play, the Red have struggled.

“We need to work on establishing who we are throughout the whole game,” said the coach. “We need four chukkers of one identity.”

Archived article by Scott Reich

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