October 28, 2004

After Consecutive Home Losses, Polo Seeks Victory

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Polo coach David Eldredge ’81 and the engineering students agree on one thing, it’s all about the curve. The “learning curve,” that is.

Despite last weekend’s home losses, Eldredge hopes to get the men’s and women’s polo squads back into winning shape before hosting Skidmore this weekend.

After winning five consecutive national titles, the women’s squad (0-2) suffered two losses at the beginning of the season to Virginia and Connecticut — two teams Eldredge calls “top teams in the country.”

The women suffered a heartbreaking 13-12 loss at Virginia on Oct. 15, ending an 86-game winning streak. The women had not seen defeat since losing to Virginia in the 1999 national championship game.

The Red went on to drop its second game of the season against Connecticut in a 20-13 loss. With Connecticut jumping to a 5-0 lead, the women had trouble coming back.

One key factor in the outcome is the loss of starter Molly Buck, who is taking the fall semester off. Although Buck will return for the spring season, the squad must rely on seniors Harriet Antczak and Lindsey Scheer for leadership.

“We’re kind of in building mode,” Eldredge said. “We only have one starter from a previous team in the [opening] lineup. It’s no big worry. It’s the beginning of the season. We have a lot of time.”

Eldredge plans to work with the women on speeding up and maintaining their speed. “We are quick and hectic around the goals right now,” Eldredge said. “We need to be a little more in control of [our] opponents.”

While the women are dealing with the loss of a starter, the men are facing the same problem — times three. With last year’s starters away for the fall season, the squad is relying on seniors Stan Feldmen and Will Yang and junior John Price to set the tone.

The men lost last season’s national championship game to Virginia by a final score of 21-19. The squad came back fresh and played to an impressive 23-5 win, beating the Central New York Polo Club in this season’s opener.

Although new to indoor polo, standout freshman Brian Fairclough scored 18 of the 23 goals. “Fairclough is a very talented player,” Eldredge said. “He’s on a big learning curve for indoor polo and is quickly picking up.”

In their second game of the season, the men fell to the Teabrook Polo Club in a close 17-14 match. Teabrook’s strong finish and Cornell’s foul shooting contributed to the loss. While the men’s success is welcomed, Eldredge is not afraid to admit he is surprised.

“I’m quite happy with the progress of the men,” he said. “The guys are doing much better than I expected them [to do].”

“Skidmore is our weakest opponent thus far,” he said.

The men will take on Skidmore tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the Oxley Equestrian Center. The women will be back in action on Saturday at 8:15 p.m.

Archived article by Kristen Kovach
Sun Contributor