The men’s and women’s polo teams both played at home this weekend, but they headed in different directions when they faced UConn. The men’s team tamed the Huskies, 25-10, on Saturday, but the women’s side fell short in the final chukker, losing, 20-12, on Friday.
In the women’s match, UConn — the defending national champions — came out firing, controlling the pace of the game and taking an early 5-0 lead by the end of the first chukker.
“The girls were so jazzed up at the start of the game,” said head coach David Eldredge ’81. “They got themselves into some foul trouble early, and they missed a few plays.”
After its initial stumble, the Red (2-1) came back strong, holding the Huskies to just two goals in the second chukker and entering the half down only one goal, 7-6.
“I think they just settled down a little bit and they got everything together,” said Eldredge. “They did very well and got themselves back into it.”
The women continued to play UConn close in the third chukker, tying the match twice, and entering the decisive final chukker down only one goal, 11-10. However, UConn rattled off nine goals in the fourth chukker to seal the victory.
“We lost our composure,” Eldredge said. “The thing we were very happy about was last year when we would play them, if we got down by five goals in the first chukker, we were done; the game was over. This year, we came back. … We really competed very well.”
Senior Julie Nicholson led the way for the Red with five goals, while classmate and captain Ariel Katz had four goals and fellow senior Monica Ganley tallied three scores.
It was a different story for the men’s team (2-0) Saturday, as Cornell jumped out at the start, scoring the first two goals of the game. However, fouls by the Red and aggressive play by the Huskies left the game tied at 4-4 after the first chukker. Still adjusting to UConn’s style of play, Cornell went into the half leading 9-6.
“The UConn team was a team coming in that I knew if we fell asleep, if we weren’t on our game, they could give us trouble,” Eldredge said. “In the first half, we were tentative and kind of conservative. They were playing a very physical game and we couldn’t get the offense going.”
But in the second half, Cornell shut out UConn in the third chukker, scoring eight unanswered goals and pushing its lead to 17-7. With the game now firmly in control, the Red cruised through the fourth chukker, again tallying another eight goals.
“We picked up the offense and we picked up the speed of the game and got it from a physical game to a real running game,” said Eldredge. “I knew they weren’t going to be able to keep up with us.”
Junior Brian Fairclough led all scorers with 16 goals, while sophomore Bobby Harvey added six tallies and senior captain Stan Feldman contributed three goals to the cause.
“It was the kind of performance that I was hoping to have that the whole game, but at least we didn’t really stumble in the first half,” Eldredge said. “We didn’t let them get to us. We just kind of played more their game and in then in the second half really took hold of the game.”