The men’s and women’s polo each took on their Yale counterparts this past Friday, although the Red squads returned home with different results, as the women fell to the Bulldogs, 14-8, while the men’s team came away with a 29-8 victory. The women suffered an additional, 20-11, defeat at the hands of Maryland on Saturday.
After being absent from competition for over a month, the women’s polo team did not waste any time easing into its spring schedule. The Red faced two formidable foes this weekend, starting with an away match at Yale Friday night and Maryland at home on Saturday.
In New Haven, Conn., the women’s team came together for its first match since getting juniors Ariel Katz and Julie Nicholson back after spending last semester abroad. Head coach Dave Eldredge ’81 knew heading into the match that Yale’s strength could cause problems for the Red.
“I knew we would see some problems on our side from not being gelled yet. Stamina was an issue. Also, we always have had teams go there and struggle since the surface is much deeper than what we are used to,” Eldredge said.
The Red’s preparation paid off, as the starting three – Katz, Nicholson, and junior Monica Ganley, – jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first chukker. However, as Eldredge pointed out, the conditioning of the Red’s athletes became apparent as the Bulldogs kicked the pace of the match into a higher gear and Cornell began to fall apart. At the half, the Red still held the lead, 6-4, but the momentum had shifted for the long haul.
To start the third chukker, Eldredge replaced Ganley with senior Morgan O’Brien.
“Monica [Ganley] and Morgan [O’Brien] were the two standouts from the fall. They both did quite well and now I am just still seeing who will rise to the top,” Eldredge said.
However, the move was not able to recharge the Red, as Yale came out of the gates after the half even stronger. By the end of the third chukker, Yale had taken the lead, 9-7, and cruised through the fourth chukker to ultimately win by a 14-8 margin.
Despite suffering this tough loss, the women had little time to ponder on it and even less time to rest. After traveling over the night, the Red met Maryland in its familiar home turf, the Oxley Equestrian Center, for a grueling exhibition match.
Unlike the Yale game, this time the Red was slow starting and the Terrapins had no problem clicking from the get-go. After falling behind, 5-1, the Red was able to close the gap to 5-3 by the end of the first chukker.
“This was a good test at home. Maryland is a very solid team although they aren’t competing in the Collegiate Circuit. They are much more physical than we are, which is something we will have to improve on,” Eldredge said.
The hardnosed play wore out an already tired Cornell team. Maryland was having no problems finishing its charges while the Red struggled to keep a burst of momentum going. After Ganley substituted in for O’Brien in the third, the Red put together what Eldregde considered a very well-played chukker. However, in the end, the Red was lacking defensively, suffering a 20-11 loss.
“I was hopeful coming out of this weekend. As the girls got more used to each other, finishing around the goals will come together. And on defense, when the girls are more comfortable together, we won’t see so much over compensating.” Eldredge said.
The men’s team traveled to Yale Saturday and had no trouble beating the Bulldogs for the second time this season. After Bobby Harvey strained his back in practice this past week, Eldredge decided it would be best to rest him for next week’s match. Thus, the Red sent junior Stan Feldman, sophomore Dan Crespo, and seniors Will Yang and Jared Ravich – giving sophomore Brian Fairclough the weekend off.
The men’s team didn’t miss a step, handily beating the Bulldogs, 29-8.
Archived article by Roman Barinas
Sun Staff Writer