Coming off a six-week break, most teams would expect a little rust to show in their first game back. However, this usual standard did not hold for the Cornell women’s polo team.
Dominating from the start, the Red blew out Yale, 30-3, last Saturday to continue its gallop toward a fifth consecutive national championship. Cornell will try to do much of the same tonight, as it travels to New Haven to complete the home and away series with the Elis.
“I couldn’t be a whole lot happier,” said polo head coach David Eldredge ’81 about the current state of team coming off winter break. “Risa [Bianchi], Molly [Buck], and Harriet [Antczak] came out looking like they never left.”
Led by Bianchi’s seven goals in the first chukker, the Red broke open the game last Saturday by immediately charging out to an 11-0 lead. The blowout continued through to the half, as Antczak, playing with substitutes Molly Heermans and Lindsey Scheer, tallied six scores helping extend the advantage to 19-1.
From there, Cornell cruised to victory while easily winning both of the chukkers in the second half 5-0 and 6-2 respectively. When the dust settled, Bianchi, with 11 goals, ended up as the leading scorer for the Red, while Antczak and Buck contributed a combined 14 scores.
Heading into tonight’s game, Eldredge expects his team to show much of the same dominance over Yale. In fact, his biggest concern is keeping his players healthy, especially in Yale’s unheated ring.
With just a few games left before heading to regionals, Eldredge described that his biggest goal in the next few games is to ensure that the team maintains its high level of play.
“We don’t want to that flat spot,” described Eldredge. “We can’t endanger ourselves by peaking to early.”
Meanwhile, the men’s team, also coming off an impressive victory over Yale, is back in action this weekend against the Elis tomorrow afternoon.
However, unlike the women, the men did show a little rust in their first game back, falling behind twice during the first chukker. Nevertheless, the team pulled it together in time to gain a 14-8 lead by halftime.
The Red then dominated the second half, outscoring Yale, 9-1, in the third chukker before finishing off the 30-10 victory. Having just arrived the night before without having picked up a mallet the whole break, senior Senter Johnson still managed to lead all scorers with 20 goals.
“I am really surprised at how well we performed,” said Eldredge. “Their mind set is really good right now.”
In fact, the coach senses a change for the better in the attitudes of his players. “Where there was a lack of focus last semester, there is none now. They are really now committed,” described Eldredge.
However, the men still have a lot of work to do before making their run at the national championship. Most notably of these improvement is to learn to put other teams away once they grab a lead.
“Once we got the lead we would go in and just cruise. We didn’t put other teams away,” said Eldredge. “The game in an entire 30 minutes and we must play that entire time without taking rests.”
Archived article by Scott Reich