March 26, 2007

Polo Teams Qualify For NCAA Tourney

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The men and women’s Polo teams have earned the right to compete with the best of the best, as both Red squads were granted National tournament bids following solid performances at Regionals last weekend. Yesterday afternoon, both teams traveled south to face national powerhouse UVA for their final regular-season matches.

In the Eastern Regional championships last weekend, the men and women experienced very similar results, winning easily over their first-round opponents, and then barely coming up short in their championship matches. In the first rounds, the men beat Yale 24-5, and the women defeated UMass by a score of 22-5. Both then fell, 16-14, in their championship matches to Regional winner, UConn.

[img_assist|nid=22248|title=Get down there.|desc=Senior Monica Ganley positions herself over the ball in Cornell’s 18-8 loss to a Toronto club team on March 3.|link=node|align=left|width=83|height=100]

Yesterday afternoon in Charlottesville, Va., the Cornell men and women were both defeated by UVA, by scores of 22-8 and 15-11, respectively. Despite the losses, both squads seem relieved that they had an opportunity in yesterday’s matches to work out some of their kinks before heading to Kentucky for Nationals next week.

“We sorted out some of those issues that we were having. We we’re really happy [with our performance],” said head coach David Eldredge ’81.

In the men’s competition, Cornell was losing to UVA after the first half by a lopsided score of 15-3. The men responded, however, by coming out much stronger in the third chukker, and only losing the second half by two goals.

“We went out in the second half and played much better, much more like the team that we actually are,” Eldredge said. “We fixed a lot of problems which was really good. We were looking to working on specific team issues, and we really did that.”

The men were also able to use yesterday’s match as a method of determining which of its alternates — senior Jesse Llop or sophomore Rich Weidel — will compete at the No. 3 position in Kentucky, since its lineup for Nationals is still not set.

“I haven’t actually made that call yet,” Eldredge said. “That’s something I’m going to have to be looking at this week.”

On paper, a sub-.500 outcome for the week may not seem all that satisfying, but the Red squads recognize that they were facing some stiff competition, and were happy with the way things transpired this past week — especially receiving National tournament bids.

Senior Stan Feldman described his mindset and his team’s “no-pressure” philosophy on heading into Nationals next week, saying, “I’m just gonna go out and half fun in my last couple of matches. No expectations. We’ll see what happens. We think we can win every time.”