This weekend provides critical matches for Cornell’s polo teams, as the men will try to remain unbeaten in 2006, while the women’s team looks to build upon its recent improvements and corral its first victory of the New Year. The men will host Valley Forge Military Academy tonight while the women take on Virginia tomorrow night.
Even though the men’s team has been riding high this season, winning eight of its 11 matches, there has been some recent cause for concern. Starting freshman Robert Harvey and junior Stan Feldman have been on the sidelines recently with injuries, forcing head coach David Eldredge ’81 to juggle his rotations and see if other players can produce. Senior Will Yang and sophomore Dan Crespo have seen the majority of the additional time and will need to play well this weekend to keep the winning streak alive. While Crespo will be playing with limited experience, he has the confidence of his teammates.
“Dan’s playing really well recently, especially offensively,” Feldman said.
The lone remaining starter -sophomore Brian Fairclough – will need to show faith in his teammates, but Eldredge sees this is as a chance for the team to gel before the playoffs.
“If they can have that faith, it’s a step forward for the whole team,” Eldredge said. “It’s an opportunity, I hope we can take advantage.”
The men’s team already beat VFMA in the season opener last October, but Eldredge acknowledged this provides little advantage for tonight’s game.
Between Cornell’s two key injuries and Valley Forge now boasting its best player back from injury, the game will prove to be a challenge for the Red.
“It’s not going to be easy by any means,” Eldredge said.
The women, meanwhile, will be looking to put together a solid effort and defeat Virginia for its first victory since the return of sophomores Ariel Katz and Julie Nicholson from the semester abroad.
“I’m coming into this weekend with high hopes,” Eldredge said. “UVA is a tough team, but I’m looking at it as a guide for where we stand.”
According to Eldredge, the main improvement has been gelling the new players together and focusing on how each player fits into the overall system.
“We’ve been working really hard to function as a team,” Katz said. “We’re definitely getting better.”
Communication will be the key for this weekend’s match and the players are aware of that.
“I’m pretty excited for the game,” said senior captain Morgan O’Brien. “The first couple of games we were all going for the same plays. Now we’ve gotten better at communicating.”
Archived article by Tim Perone