March 31, 2008

Polo Teams Finish Regular Seasons With Victories

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With the National tournament in Lexington, Ky., tomorrow fast approaching, the men’s polo team played in a warm-up match Saturday night at the Oxley Equestrian Center in Ithaca. The women, who didn’t qualify for Nationals, finished their season with a win over the Central New York Polo Club.
The men’s team faced off against Tea Brook, a men’s club team from Buffalo that defeated the Red at Oxley, 22-11, in Cornell’s season opener on Oct. 12. After stumbling against Tea Brook at the start of the year, the Red was looking forward to taking on the squad again again.
“With [freshman] Max [Constant] having to learn the system as well as his new teammates, [junior] Rich [Weidel] having to improve throughout the year, and [junior] Bobby [Harvey] holding the team together as the key figure through all of it, all the pieces have started to work together,” said head coach David Eldredge ’81. “We played as a team this time around, which is really the crux of it, when last time, we played as three individuals.”[img_assist|nid=29292|title=Bold move|desc=Both the men’s and women’s polo teams finished their regular seasons with wins this past weekend. The men will compete at Nationals this week.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Thanks to 10 goals from Constant, six from Harvey, three from Weidel and three pony goals, the Red triumphed over Tea Brook, 22-12.
“It was really a mark to show how far we’ve come as a team,” said junior Rich Weidel. “We were all firing together and playing well. Everything came in place for us, and it gives us a lot of confidence going to Nationals tomorrow.”
In addition to being a benchmark to compare with the beginning of the season, the Tea Brook contest was utilized as preparation for the National tournament.
“Tea Brook plays at a very high level, so it’s a good warm-up for us before UVA,” Weidel said.
Eldredge agreed.
“It was a really good warm-up game,” he said, “because we had an opportunity to play against a good team and beat them, in addition to demonstrating how far we’ve come this year.”
With five wins in a row, the Red is playing good polo heading into its National tournament semi-final contest with Virginia tomorrow. The team’s confidence is high.
“Attitude wise, we’re in a very good place,” Eldredge said. “The boys are very comfortable with one another and are playing well together. They’re doing their jobs.”
The women’s polo team wrapped up its season Friday evening at the Oxley Equestrian Center with a 16-14 victory over the Central New York Polo Club. After falling behind 8-0 after the first chukker, the Red rallied to win by two.
Seniors Gina Bebensee and Claudia Reyner were abroad during the first semester and inactive for the team in the spring. That was the case until this past weekend, when each saw their first play of the season campaign. Suzanne Bush also played her first minutes of the year.
“The first chukker was like a continuation of the UConn game [a 26-8 loss in the northeast regional final last weekend],” Eldredge said. “Our opponents got all the bounces and opened up an 8-0 lead. They took advantage of their opportunities.”
When the Red’s more dominant players entered the contest, though, the game’s flow turned in Cornell’s favor. Senior Amanda Burns helped the Red to the comeback in her final game wearing the Cornell red and white. Juniors Ariana Constant, Emily Bold and Erin Bold also contributed heavily to the Red’s final victory of the season. They end the season with a record that stands at 13-6.
Head coach David Eldredge hopes that the momentum the Red carried through the fourth chukker of the game will run through to next season.
“I was very happy we got a win at the end,” he said. “I am extremely happy with where the girls have gotten to this year. I believe that we are going to be set very well going into next year with Erin, Emily and Ari. I think we will be one of the top teams in the country next year.”