February 19, 2008

W. Polo Battles UConn and Club

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The women’s polo team’s captain and most dominant player, junior Ari Constant, was unable to play in both of the past weekend’s games due to sickness, but her teammates steeled themselves prior to game time.
“I was very happy with the way the girls played this weekend after we found out Ari was sick and would not be able to play,” said head coach David Eldredge ’81.
The Red generated enough firepower to cruise past Garrison Forest Polo Club on Saturday, 18-10. A rematch with No. 1 UConn on Sunday, however, didn’t go the Red’s way, as the Huskies successfully defended their home territory, winning 22-14.
[img_assist|nid=27968|title=Neck and neck|desc=The women’s polo team was without junior captain Ariana Constant (right) for the weekend’s matches, dropping a heartbreaker to perennial rival No. 1 UConn Sunday, 22-14.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
On Saturday, Cornell squared off against Garrison Forest School, an all-girls high school located in Owings Mills, Maryland. The Red hosted the match at the Oxley Equestrian Center.
“Even though they are a prep school, most of their players had more experience than we did due to Ari’s absence,” said senior Amanda Burns. “We started off a little bit disorganized. We’re used to playing with a certain team dynamic, but without Ari, it took us time to adjust.”
After a slow start, the squad used halftime to their advantage.
“During halftime, we regrouped and talked about getting back to the basics. Our goals were to hit all of our shots and to focus on our teammates, rather than ourselves,” Burns said.
The speech by Eldredge paid off, and the Red surged ahead in the second half.
“Everybody stepped up in the second half, and the score ended up coming out in our favor,” Burns said.
Burns contributed one tally in the victory, but the star of the game was junior Emily Bold. The Pennsylvania native poured in 12 goals, and her twin, Erin Bold, added three tallies. Two pony goals were also registered by the home team in the win.
The team then woke up early Sunday morning to travel to Storrs, Conn. to take on the Huskies of UConn. After dropping an 18-17 decision to the Huskies at home on Nov. 3, the girls in red and white wanted to make a statement.
“We scored two goals right away to set them back a little bit,” Burns said. “They were not expecting that from us after our five-and-a-half hour trip and our arrival without our captain, Ari.”
After the quick strikes, UConn settled in and took a sizeable lead into halftime.
“Even though we started strong, the first half went a little bit slower than we would have liked,” Burns said.
In addition to standing atop the national rankings, UConn is the three-time defending national champion. Going into halftime on the short end of a wide margin, the Red refused to let the Huskies’ past success make the visiting team give up without a fight. Just as they did the day before, Cornell came together and pledged to push for a stronger second half.
“We had difficulty anticipating their plays and we were not as disciplined as we should have been about staying on top of them,” Burns said as she broke down the first half deficiencies. “Earlier this year, we played them really well and lost to them by one, so we knew we could put together a couple of solid chukkers.”
The Red picked up their play in the second half and outscored the Huskies by a goal over the final two chukkers, but it was too little, too late.
Burns and Erin Bold each knocked in three goals in the losing effort. Emily Bold recorded five lamp lighters, and three pony goals were awarded to the visiting Red.
“If we had put the same amount of pressure on them in the first half as we did in the second half, it would have been a different story,” Burns said.