November 8, 2005

Men's and Women's Polo Sweep Skidmore

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The men’s and women’s polo teams both added to their win column this past weekend against Skidmore.

The men’s team improved to 2-1 with an 18-10 victory over the Thoroughbreds on Friday. The Skidmore arena, the Van Lennep Riding Center, is known for its particularly smaller ring, which breeds a more physical style of play. Although, according to junior Stan Feldman, it usually is a hassle to play Skidmore at its home arena in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., this time the Red did not allow the playing conditions to hinder its confidence or execution. The players were forced to adjust to a more hard-nosed, scrum-like game, and adjust they did.

“Our main focus was to stay open. We had to think fast and keep moving in order to make sure we didn’t cluster. We had to dig in and play dirty, something we usually don’t do, but then there’s really no other way to play in that tiny sandbox,” Feldman said.

After allowing the Thoroughbreds to gain a 1-0 lead early on, the Red’s successful tweaking of its game plan became apparent with three quick retaliation goals. From here, the men controlled the game, but didn’t dominate until the third chukker.

Throughout the first half, Cornell head coach David Eldredge ’81 was able to figure out exactly what his team needed to do to blow the game open. And after conveying the holes in Skidmore’s attack to his team at halftime, the Red jumped out to a commanding lead, winning the third chukker, 9-2.

And from there, the Red coasted for the win.

After starting with its usual lineu- – freshman Bobby Harvey, sophomore Brian Fairclough, and Feldman – Eldredge substituted in senior William Yang in order to allow each of the four players to play three chukkers.

“We were quite happy with this win. We have two tough games coming up, and it was nice to even out the playing time,” Eldredge said.

The women didn’t have the same success last week when they lost a heartbreaker, 9-8, to Skidmore at the recognizably smaller Van Lennep Riding Center. However, Saturday the Red got its taste of revenge, beating the Thoroughbreds, 13-7, at the Oxley Equestrian Center.

After the Thoroughbreds started off ahead by attempting to adopt a faster-paced approach, the Red shifted gears as its opponent tired itself out.

The starters – junior Nancy Glober, senior Katie Moran, and senior Morgan O’Brien – were able to keep things tied for the second half. After the Red refreshed with new players in the second half , putting in junior Monaca Ganley, senior Heidi Barreiro, and senior Aisling Garcia, the gap began to widen.

It was Garcia’s strong play at the start of the fourth chukker that twisted the dagger.

“Asling scoring those two quick goals within the first minute was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Eldredge said.

The Red, who are now 2-2, came out of the weekend feeling that they continue to rise up to higher levels of play as the season goes on. Garcia hopes this trend will continue against Yale next weekend.

“We’ve gained a lot of confidence. The win [over Skidmore] was a nice little boost. We’ve never played Yale before, but like we have in the past, we’ll play our game and hopefully continue to improve,” Garcia said.

Archived article by Roman Barinas
Sun Staff Writer