October 28, 2005

W. Polo Looks to Get Back On Track Against Skidmore

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After being defeated by UConn last weekend, the women’s polo team enters the third weekend of the season with a 1-1 record. After starting the year on a high note by beating UMass 12-7, Cornell’s inexperience was exploited in a 24-6 loss to the defending national champion Huskies.

The Red will be looking for redemption tonight at 7 p.m., when it travels to face Skidmore in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

About this time last year, the Red routed Skidmore 22-6, in a extremely lopsided affair. However, this year, the women have very different personnel. Out of last year’s high scorers, only seniors Morgan O’Brien (3 goals) and Heidi Barreiro (1 goal) have returned. But, the Red will still have the same expectations heading into this year’s contest. At the moment, most of the playing time is shared among six women – O’Brien, Barreiro, junior Nancy Glober, junior Monica Ganley, senior Katie Moran, and senior Aisling Garcia. Although much of the roster has turned over, many of the women have adapted to their new roles.

However, unlike UConn, Skidmore does not have the advantage of experience. In fact, head coach David Eldredge ’81 feels Skidmore’s only edge in today’s match playing in a familiar environment.

“Skidmore really is not as talented as we are and are just as inexperienced. What they do have is a true home-field advantage. Their rink is one of the most difficult for us to play in. It is much smaller. I predict the score will be much closer than when they come here,” he said.

This presents a difficult challenge for the Red. But, according to Eldredge, after learning from last weekend’s match against the Huskies, the women are in great position to not only win, but also continue to improve. That really has become a motto for the women’s team – to improve and become better from game to game. So far, Eldredge believes that they have been successful.

Similarly, the men’s team also has compiled a 1-1 record, winning its opener against Valley Forge Military Academy, 29-9, before falling to UConn 18-14 in a hard fought loss. Instead of returning to the playing field, this weekend will serve as an opportunity to rest up and prepare for the remainder of the season.

Cornell will also host the USPA Old Timers Tourney this weekend at the Oxley Equestrian Center. Since the polo team is self-supporting, this tournament is the main fundraising event for the Red. Local and former polo players travel to Ithaca to compete and reminisce, but mainly to support intercollegiate polo through the Polo Training Foundation.

Archived article by Roman Barinas
Sun Contributor