February 24, 2009

W. Polo Dominates UVa, Men Falter vs. Archrival

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The Cornell men’s and women’s polo teams traveled to Charlottesville, Va., this weekend to take on the University of Virginia. While the women dominated in their match to remain undefeated, the men (11-4) ultimately came up short, but managed to close the gap in their rivalry with UVa.
After faltering against the Cavaliers in their three previous meetings this season, the men’s team sought to prove that it could contend with Virginia in the event that the two meet in the national tournament in early April.
Friday night’s contest featured a long-awaited coaching decision. Sophomore Max Constant was moved from the more defensive No. 3 position to the No. 2 spot, which allows him to roam the field and create plays from scratch.
[img_assist|nid=35491|title=This ain’t no ride in the park|desc=The women’s polo team moves to 17-0 on the season after getting the best of Virginia, 22-12, on Friday night.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“The No. 2 position guy needs to get everywhere on the field, so he usually gets the best horses,” said Constant. “Putting me at the No. 2 position gave me a good horse, so I was able to create a little more. The switch worked well, and it should help us the rest of the way.”
“Moving Max [Constant] up to the No. 2 position was something we did the game before, vs. Toronto Polo Club,” said Eldredge. “Bobby [Harvey] is at the No. 3 position now, and his confidence has jumped up. Max [Constant] is coming along well and has matured enough that he doesn’t have to worry about Bobby [Harvey] being back there.”
Eldredge added, “[Constant] trusts Bobby [Harvey] back there and as a result, is now less conservative, which is good because of Constant’s skill set. This gives Max [Constant] a chance to go through and create, and Bobby is good and strong enough to finish things off and help out on the back door.”
Despite individual successes, the Red fell again to the Cavs by a final mark of 23-11. The twelve-goal deficit, though, was not indicative of the game for the first three chukkers.
“For the first time this year, despite the home field advantage that they had, we competed for three chukkers. We won the first chukker and hung in there for the second and third. The wind was taken out of our sails in previous games,” said Eldredge, “but in this one, they only had a three-goal advantage at halftime, and a four-goal lead after three chukkers.”
The host team took advantage of the fact that it was playing on its home turf.
“UVa gets away with a lot on their home turf, so when they go to nationals and have comparable fouls called against them, they’re surprised that they get called for it,” said Constant.
The Cornell women’s team stormed the pitch this weekend, when it blew the Cavaliers out of their own stables with a 22-12 victory –– the Red’s 17th of the season. The undefeated Red used Virginia’s confidence against them.
“This was a statement for the girls,” said Eldredge. “Virginia felt good about themselves because they played us well a couple weeks ago, and then they beat UConn. They were confident going against us. We dropped a 10-goal win in their arena, on their horses, with their home field advantage.”
The location of Friday night’s game, Eldredge pointed out, is more important in the long run than one might think at first glance.
“Their arena is where nationals are going to be played. … Our big win this time showed that we didn’t play well against them two weeks ago. This game, we were on top of it, pulled away and won by 10 goals, and showed that we’re still the best. If anyone thought that we were weakening, and they were gaining ground on us, we showed it hasn’t changed; they still have a long way to go to match us when we’re at our best.”