The women’s polo team found itself in an unusual position last friday night in its game against Michigan State — It was trailing 4-3 at the half.
Although unused to playing from behind, head coach David Eldredge ’81 remained confident in his team. Against a young Spartan program that has seen little success on the polo field, Eldredge took the opportunity to give playing time to his bench, starting the sophomore trio of Hilary Corsun, Morgan O’Brian, Heidi Barriero.
“It being a close game, I was never worried about it enough to put in any starters, because the younger girls on our team were controlling play,” said Eldredge. “We just weren’t necessarily scoring the goals.”
Starting juniors Lindsay Scheer and Christie Taylor in the third, Cornell quickly turned the game around. Continuing its trend of dominating teams in the third chukker the Red shut out the Spartans 4-0. The Spartans came back for one goal in the fourth to make the final score 7-5 in favor of the Red.
“It was a really wonderful experience for those girls,” commented Eldredge, happy to give playing time to his alternates. “We put a lot of smiles on some people’s faces and came out with a win on top of it.”
The Red travel to Virginia next weekend where Cornell will look for its third-straight win against the Cavaliers this year.
Coming off possibly its biggest victory of the year, a 19-18 shoot-out win over perennial nemesis Virginia, one would expect the Red to be a little sluggish. Yet Cornell showed no signs of a letdown Saturday night against the Valley Forge Military Academy. Jumping out to an early lead, the Red riders cruised to a 19-14 victory.
“The guys were honestly a much more relaxed team,” commented Eldredge. “It was a fun game, pretty fast-paced, moving up and down the hall.”
Senior Senter Johnson led the scoring for the Red with 10 goals. Junior Nick Grew tallied six, while freshman Stan Feldman added three.
“Coming off that win [against Virginia] added a lot of confidence back into the team,” remarked Eldredge. “They understand that they still have things to do, but we weren’t sure that it was actually real that we were better than everybody and now they actually have the confidence that they are.”
The Red was without key senior Jeff Markle, who stayed home to rest a thumb injured in the Virginia game. Markle’s absence allowed Eldredge to give Grew some valuable playing time in the number two position.
“We needed to kind of work on his quickness responding to the ball and to the play,” said Eldredge of Grew. “He got some really good chukkers in and that was a lot of fun.”
Cornell returned home from its victory over Valley Forge for a 10 a.m. game against Michigan State. The game proved to be a similar affair to the women’s, allowing Eldredge to give significant playing time to his alternates.
Sophomore’s Jared Ravich and William Yang started for the Red and Jeff Markle also returned to the lineup. Markle dispelled any remaining questions about his injured thumb, scoring seven goals on the way to giving the Red a 10-0 lead after the first chukker. Cornell went on to win the game 19-11.
“It was good. It gave some of the younger guys a chance to get out there and get there feet wet,” said Eldredge.
Eldredge was particularly impressed by the play of Yang.
“Will played quite well. He’s done a lot of good things in practice and he did quite well out in the game.”
Archived article by Paul Testa