October 25, 2005

Cornell Polo Falls To UConn Squads

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Despite starting the fall season off strong with wins from the men and women’s teams, both fell to UConn this past weekend in a true test for each squad. The women lost, 24-6, against the experienced UConn team and the men lost a close one, 18-14, in a rematch of last year’s national championship game. Both Cornell squads now hold a 1-1 record this season.

The women’s team, which has a total of seven games played amongst the players currently on the roster, was much younger and inexperienced than the Huskies, who are the defending national champion and has its entire squad back from last year. However, the Red – which won its eighth straight East title last year before losing in the national championship game to snap its five-year run of consecutive titles – is using this fall season mainly to discover its starting three. Head coach David Eldredge feels the six girls who played this weekend – seniors Heidi Barreiro, Morgan O’Brien, Aisling Garcia, and Katie Moran and juniors Nancy Glober and Monica Ganley – are all playing very close to the same level, making it difficult to pick a starting trio.

“At the moment, Morgan O’Brien is the most consistent. She also has the most experience and looks more comfortable out there. However, the others aren’t far behind. As the fall goes on, I’ll be able to get a better feeling of who will get the most playing time,” Eldredge said.

From the very beginning, UConn was able to exploit the Red’s inexperience. After the Red showed it could handle the run-and-gun pace that UConn set at the start of the game, UConn adjusted by slowing down the tempo of the game and forcing the Red into foul trouble. Although the Red adjusted well to the slow pace by the second half, UConn again took control of the game by using its experience to create an uneven flow of play and keep Cornell off-balance.

Despite not getting the win, all was not lost in this game for the Red.

“We felt good after this game. We were honest with ourselves and used this game to learn the things that we needed to learn. We are very happy with this outcome. This is a marathon and we are only at the beginning, but it is a very good path we are taking,” Eldregde said.

Garcia felt Eldredge is doing a great job ripening this new team and agrees with him on the outcome of the UConn game.

“We really looked to have fun this game. We knew we could learn a lot from UConn. They are very effective, very efficient, but we really just wanted to have fun and make it as difficult as possible for them,” Garcia said.

The men’s team, although more experienced than the women’s, still found itself working a younger player into the starting three. Freshman Bobby Harvey, who took over for senior Will Yang in the previous triumph over Valley Forge Military Academy, is still adjusting to the fast-paced college game.

“Harvey plays very well. This weekend was the fastest pace he has ever played and he still was able to perform well. His learning curve is just going up. Once he catches up with the speed, he is going to be real good,” Eldredge said.

Harvey, junior Stan Feldman and sophomore Brian Fairclough played the entire game for the Red. Despite the loss, the Red was in control for most of the game. Discounting a poor start, the Red felt it out-played UConn.

“The guys were a little too high on adrenaline in the first period, committing seven fouls, which is very uncharacteristic. That really enabled them to get out to a lead. We did settle down after that and controlled the later periods,” Eldredge said.

Despite the early debacle, the Red was able to fight back and tie the game at 12 heading into the fourth chukker. Fairclough was pleased with the team’s position heading into the fram, but luck wasn’t on Cornell’s side. UConn had two long shots worth two points go in which put a halt to any chance of a comeback.

“It is tough to defend against the long shot. That really broke us when the second one went it. That usually doesn’t happen, especially twice. It was anybody’s game that’s for sure,” Fairclough said.

Archived article by Roman Barinas
Sun Contributor