This weekend both the men’s and women’s polo teams will be taking on the UConn at Oxley Equestrian Center. The women will be playing a tough match against the defending national champions tonight, while The men’s match will be at 8:15 p.m. tomorrow.
The women’s team is coming into this weekend with a lot of momentum after a very successful game against Skidmore on Wednesday night in which it won, 26-7. Despite this confidence booster, the women’s team knows that it will be up against some of the best competition it will face this season, as UConn has been national champions two years in a row. Although one of the Huskies’ key players graduated last year, UConn still has its strongest player, Megan Scanlon, returning. While the women know they certainly have a good chance of beating the Huskies, they are hoping to use the results of this game as a gauge of what they need to improve upon for the season.[img_assist|nid=19074|title=Riding high|desc=Senior Monica Ganley (3) swings through a shot during a match at Oxley Equestrian Center this year. (Eric Safstrom / Sun Srenio Photographer)|link=popup|align=right|width=78|height=100]
“They’re going to be tough, no question,” said head coach David Eldredge ’81. “Odds are in their favor since they are repeating national champions, but we have a strong team back this year, and I’m really excited for this weekend.”
Tonight, senior captain Ariel Katz, along with classmates Monica Ganley and Julie Nicholson, will be starting the game. If an alternate is needed, Eldredge will be making a difficult decision about who to put in based on the needs of the game.
“I want two of my strong sophomores to get more playing time because they are playing well, but [senior] Genna Horvath played well last weekend, and [senior] Nancy Glober is also a candidate,” Eldredge said. “It’s going to have to depend on gut feeling, if we even need an alternate.”
Tomorrow night, the men’s team will have its own chance to show UConn how much it has improved already since last season. With a starting line up consisting of senior captain Stan Feldman, junior Brian Fairclough, and sophomore Bobby Harvey, the men’s team hopes to reap the benefits of having some experience on its side. The trio played well together last year, but spent much of last season learning to work together. This season the confidence and trust they have developed in each other has made them a powerful force.
“We are carrying confidence now that we didn’t have last year in who we are as a team,” Eldredge said. “I think the game will be competitive, but I think our confidence and ability will win out.”
Last weekend, the men defeated Central New York Polo, 19-15, after their game against Skidmore was postponed. Though the opponent got off to a three-goal lead, the men were able to pull themselves together and achieve a decisive win. The men’s team attributes this resilience to the newfound confidence that seems to be the theme of its season so far.
“Last year, in this type of situation, they would have folded, but that didn’t happen. They trusted one another and that speaks to the confidence we have this year,” Eldredge said. “They feel real good going into this game.”
This weekend’s matchups promise to be full of excitement, learning opportunities, and hopefully two victories on home turf for both the men’s and women’s polo team.
“I’m thinking this is going to be great,” Eldredge said. “It’s an early season, and if nothing else, these games will show what to work on for the rest of the season. We’re really looking forward to it.”