March 10, 2006

Polo Preps for Regional Finals

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In the final weekend before post-season play, Cornell’s polo teams will look to notch victories in critical matches before they begin pursuit of their respective Eastern Regional titles.

Tonight, the women’s team will welcome the Toronto Polo Club to the Oxley Equestrian Center tonight before traveling to play UConn in Storrs, Conn., on Sunday. Even though the UConn match will represent a likely preview of the regional final, the Red will focus first on Toronto, before turning their attention to the Huskies.

“[Toronto] brings a lot to the table,” said head coach David Eldredge ’81. “It will be an uphill battle that will prepare us for the Sunday match.”

In the second match, Cornell will look to finally tally a victory against UConn after suffering overwhelming defeats in two early season matches – the Huskies beat the Red, 24-6, on Oct. 21 and 23-8 on Nov. 19. This time, added difficulty will exist in the fact that the Red will be riding Connecticut’s horses.

“It will be tough because we haven’t ridden [their horses] recently; it is always hard to get on strange horses,” Eldredge said.

Nonetheless, the Red’s performance will be a strong indicator of things to come in Regionals, which will take place next weekend in Ithaca.

“If we can perform up [in Storrs],” Eldredge said. “It will say a lot about what can happen when we get them down here.”

In between the two women’s matches, the men’s team will take on Toronto’s male squad tomorrow night. This club team, like its female counterpart, is equivalent to an all-star team because it is comprised of some of the most talented players from the greater Toronto area.

“They are sending down a really experienced team,” said freshman Bobby Harvey. “They will be right at our level.”

The last time the Red played a club team – New England on Feb. 25 – it was dealt a 22-16 defeat. This time, however, the Red is building off last weekend’s 29-11 win over UConn.”Team morale is way up,” said Harvey. “Everyone is really happy with our team’s play.”

With Regionals, and even nationals, in sight, the Red needs to evaluate whether or not it can compete with the upper echelon teams in the country, including Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Virginia.

“It is only a matter of weeks until the nationals,” Eldredge said. “[Tomorrow] will be a barometer for what we can do when that time comes.”

Accordingly, Eldredge plans to play his starters – Harvey, junior Stan Feldman, and sophomore Brian Fairclough – for the entire match. Harvey, who has been easing back into play after a back injury, will finally play all four chukkers.

“I’m getting better,” Harvey said. “I will definitely be full strength by Regionals.”

Archived article by Patrick Blakemore
Sun Staff Writer