The men’s and women’s polo teams begin their quest for national championships today as both sides face off against the University of Connecticut in national semifinal matches in Virginia. The women’s game begins at 1 p.m. while the men play at 3 p.m. Though UConn may have captured the double crown in basketball, its polo teams will have a difficult task before them as they face two Cornell squads, which are both ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Because of their high seeds, both teams had byes in the first round of the tournament, whereas the UConn squads each played quarterfinal matches earlier in the week.
The Connecticut women reached the semifinals by defeating U.C. Davis on Monday. The Huskies jumped out to an early lead, and held off a late rally by the Aggies to win by a seven goal margin.
“They’re definitely going to put up a challenge, so we’re going to have to come through and play the complete game,” said head coach David Eldredge ’81. “The girls are very set for the game and they’re definitely looking forward to it.”
Eldredge is confident of the women’s chances against UConn, citing Cornell’s two previous victories, 13-7 and 26-13, over the Huskies. He also noted that UConn is missing one of its key starters this semester, creating a hole that could prove significant in today’s match.
On the men’s side, UConn advanced from the quarterfinals after a 22-9 dismantling of the Colorado State team. Although the game was tied after the first chukker, UConn jumped out to a six goal lead by half and cruised through the second stanza to setup its semifinal match up against Cornell. The Red is 1-1 against Connecticut this year, winning the first encounter, 20-6, while losing the second, 19-15.
“The UConn men are going to be very difficult. We are by no means taking them lightly,” Eldredge said. “They’re a very dangerous team and we’re definitely nervous going into the game, which is good.”
Eldredge was pleased by the way the teams have looked in practice this week in Virginia and was also pleased by the momentum the team had built in the end of the season heading into nationals.
“[Nationals] definitely adds a different level of pressure and nervousness,” Eldredge said. “We certainly hope we can play like we’ve playing here towards the end of the year because we’ve been raising our level of play and we’re hoping we can step it up even a touch more.”
Should Cornell advance out of the semis, both the men’s and women’s teams would face the University of Virginia in the championship on Saturday.
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer