March 29, 2004

Polo Headed for Nationals

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Once again, both the men’s and women’s polo teams are heading to their own version of the Final Four. Actually, it’s more like the final five or six — wild cards have been added to each bracket — but nevertheless, the Red is now well positioned to advance both of its teams to the national title game for the second consecutive year.

The men clinched their place at next week’s nationals in Virginia with a 19-11 victory over Yale in the championship game of the Eastern Regionals at Oxley last weekend.

Despite lacking starting junior Nick Grew to spring break commitments, the Red dominated the first chukker, taking a quick 8-2 lead. Yet the Elis never gave up, eventually cutting the Cornell advantage to 13-10 early in the fourth chukker.

“We hit a flat spot,” said Cornell head coach David Eldredge ’81 of his team’s lull in the middle of the game. “It seemed as if the wheel might fall off in the beginning of the fourth.”

However, Cornell’s quest for the regional title would not be denied as the Red rattled off six straight goals to clinch the victory. The Red’s senior duo of Senter Johnson and Jeff Markle, who were both later named to the all-tournament team, each tallied nine scores in the game.

In earlier tournament action, Cornell clinched their position in the regional title game with a 30-7 win over Michigan State. Johnson, Markle and Grew overpowered the Spartans in the first half, galloping out to a 23-0 lead before substitutes Stan Feldman, William Yang, and EJ Chin came in to finish off the game.

The Red will be joined by other regional champions Virginia, Texas A&M and Colorado State as well as wild cards Westmont College and Conneticut at nationals.

Along with the Cavaliers, Cornell received one of the top two seeds in the tournament, granting them an automatic spot in the semifinals. The Red will play the winner of the CSU-UCONN game in one semi-final. In the other, Virginia will face the victor of the Texas A&M-Westmont College matchup.

The women’s team also received the top seed in the women’s bracket at nationals after two convincing wins in the Eastern Regionals. Like the men, the women also faced Michigan State first and later Yale during the tournament.

The Spartans’ women’s team fared little better their men’s team did against the hosts, falling 17-7 to the Cornell ladies.

Seniors Molly Buck, Marisa Bianchi and Harriet Antczak carried the Red out to a comfortable 11-2 halftime lead before reserves Lindsay Scheer, Molly Heermans and Morgan O’Brien came on to complete the victory.

In the championship against Yale, Cornell put the game out of reach early — pouring on a dozen goals before the Eli’s managed to score just one — cruising to a 25-6 win.

Biachi led all scorers in the tournament.

Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer