January 27, 2004

Riders Claim Road Victories

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Home field advantage really does make a difference; just ask the Cornell women’s polo team. Coming off a 30-3 blowout at home against the Eli’s two weeks ago, the Red was lucky escape with a 19-15 victory in the rematch at New Haven Friday evening.

“It was a tough game,” said polo head coach David Eldredge ’81. “It was ugly and difficult, but we got the win.”

Besides the cold weather which hampered the players in the unheated ring, the arena’s size difference when compared to the Red’s home at Oxley also added to Yale’s home advantage.

“The ring was deeper. It was there home and they were used to it,” described Eldredge.

Another significant factor that may have contributed to the different outcomes between the two games was the absence of usual starters Harriet Antczak and Molly Buck in the ring for the Red.

Instead, substitutes Lindsey Scheer and Molly Heermans made the trip to Yale to join Marisa Bianchi — the team’s leading scorer — in the starting lineup for Cornell.

“After last week’s game against Yale, I decided to get some experience for the subs in this one,” said Eldredge about his coaching move.

In Friday evening’s game, the men’s team had their own rematch against the Eli’s whom they had beaten 30-10 at Oxley two weeks ago. Again, the Red prevailed, but like the women’s game, the game was much closer.

Unlike the first game, in which Cornell was able to pull away early, the Eli’s played the Red evenly in the first few chukkers, facing only a 9-7 deficit at the half. However, Cornell pulled away in the second before finishing off the 21-14 victory.

“It was ugly, but a very workable game,” described Eldredge about the men’s performance.

The game marked the return of Nick Grew to the starting lineup. Stan Feldman had filled Grew’s slot for the Yale game two weeks ago.

The men will face a club team from Gardnertown next Saturday, while the women will be back in action in two weeks when both squads play host to Virginia.

With just a few games remaining before Cornell takes part in the regional and national championship playoffs, each game becomes more and more important for the Red. However, even with the added pressure, Eldredge has no fears of a let down from his teams.

“I am still feeling very good about things. I’m not worried about a let down and