February 23, 2007

Men’s, Women’s Polo to Face UConn

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A perennial rival will hit East Hill this weekend as UConn’s men’s and women’s polo squads will face off against their Cornell counterparts.

For the women, the reigning Eastern Regional champions will be coming to town. The matchup will feature two of the three perennial women’s polo powerhouses.

The Red (1-1) face a daunting task against the Huskies, who posted a 27-0 mark in the 2005-06 season.
[img_assist|nid=21615|title=All the pretty horses|desc=The men’s polo squad will take on UConn tomorrow in a matchup of two of the best teams in the country.|link=none|align=left|width=63|height=100]

The third team in the mix for this year’s title, UVA, defeated Cornell in its latest contest, 18-15.

“We were disappointed in that loss because we beat them last semester,” said senior starter Monica Ganley, who scored six goals in the loss.

Head coach David Eldredge, whose .737 winning percentage is the highest among all active Cornell coaches, believes the team’s problems last weekend were purely mental.

“The general theme of this team has been composure,” Eldredge said. “Something goes wrong, someone gets upset and the other team takes advantage of it.”

According to Ganley, losing focus is not something the Cornell squad can afford to do against an extremely talented Huskies team.

“We’re not going to be able to give up for a second,” Ganley said. “They’re the team to be reckoned with.”

With an inevitable showdown in the upcoming East Regional tournament, some players have been discussing tonight’s game as a must-win considering the Red dropped a 20-10 decision its last time out against UConn.

“From a team morale standpoint we look at this as a must win to collect ourselves [and] get through the rest of the season,” Ganley said.

Eldredge emphasized the importance of team effort.

“[I’m] more concerned about how we approach the game than the end result,” he said. “I want to know that they’re all together for the entire 30 minutes. I believe I am building this team to peek at Nationals. … My goal is to get better every game.”

Eldredge does, however, recognize the importance of this match to his squad.

“They’ve taken the back seat to UConn for two years,” Eldredge said.

As a result, the Red has spent significant time this week working on composure and preparing to neutralize the Huskie’s top threat, All-American Megan Scanlon.

“It’s my job to see the ‘hot button’ and make them aware … so they are able to turn it off,” he said.

“We need to have fun and stay relaxed,” said senior starter Ariel Katz. “If we play our game, we’ll do well … and if we need to change something come March, we’ll do that.”

Tomorrow, the men’s squad (1-1) will take on UConn in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Regional championship. Cornell’s 23-10 win gave the Red its 12th championship in program history.