March 2, 2007

Red’s Polo Teams Host Toronto Club Squads

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Whoever said non-regional games don’t matter has never been to a Red polo practice. Both the men’s and women’s squads have been dissecting film and talking strategy throughout the week in preparation for matches against two seasoned Toronto club teams.
The men’s team (10-2-1) is coming off of a 22-13 victory over UConn, rivals in the Eastern Division, and will take on Toronto tonight. According to junior starter Brian Fairclough, the UConn match was pivotal in allowing the team to build up steam heading into the end of the season.
“Momentum is a huge factor because we took a serious blow losing [junior] Daniel Cresco for the season,” Fairclough said.
Fairclough also missed the UConn bout, but was replaced by his brother, senior Andrew Fairclough, who tallied six goals.
“He had a breakthrough game,” Fairclough said. “[It showed us] we’ve got a lot of depth, which is really important to us going into the tournament.”
While never doubting the wealth of ability on his team, head coach David Eldredge ’81 has maintained a focus on improving his squad’s maturity level.
“They have the confidence, they just need believe in each other and each fulfill their responsibilities,” Eldredge said.
Eldredge spent much of this week’s practice attempting to instill into his players what it feels like to play the correct way.
“[I] constantly show them where they are making the right plays and right decisions,” Eldredge said. “It helps them a lot.”
Eldredge finds it beneficial to be hosting the older Toronto team at this point in the season, and sees it as an opportunity to point out mature play to his players.
“[It will show us] the next level, the next step you can take in certain situations,” he said.
Eldredge is expecting to reap many of the same benefits during the women’s match-up, with a highly-experienced Toronto lineup tomorrow night.
“It shows us where we can be,” he said. “It’s something we need.”
The ladies fell to defending champion UConn last weekend, 16-15. Despite the loss, senior starter Julie Nicholson says the team was not disappointed with the outcome.
“The team dynamics were good … We all got off the field and talked about [the game],” Nicholson said. “In polo, one goal is pretty minimal. … Odds are it’ll roll back in our favor.”
According to Nicholson, this week’s match with Toronto is vital to the team’s success in its impending rematch against UConn in the Regional tournament.
“It’s going to be a challenging game, but a real opportunity to hash out some of the things that will ultimately get us into the finals,” Nicholson said.
Eldredge continued to address the mental status of his team this week, but would also like to see an improvement in mechanics against Toronto.
“Composure will be there as a theme all year,” he said. “[But] we broke down tape and looked at mechanics … how they’re reacting in certain plays.”
Edredge suggests that the experience of his group is what allows these film sessions to be strong learning tools.
“Having all seniors, they can look at that stuff and digest it and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.
The team’s experience may also be why they are not shying away from this week’s match against a non-collegiate team.
“They’re looking forward to it, mostly because [Toronto] is supposedly out of our league,” Eldredge said.