March 31, 2009

Polo Sweeps Maryland to End Season

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If they’re not careful, the members of the women’s polo team might wake up this week with severely swollen heads. Who could blame them, however, following the team’s 19-10 victory against Maryland Saturday, which closed out Cornell’s regular season at a perfect 21-0 and No. 1 in the country. Cornell, meet the only Red team so far this season to complete a perfect season. Next stop, nationals.[img_assist|nid=36392|title=Looks can’t save you now|desc=Sophomore Lizzie Wisner butts heads, or rather, horses, with a UConn opponent during one of the Red’s 21 regular season victories.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The men, too, enjoyed a win this weekend and will be attending the national tournament this weekend as well. Following its victory in the Northeast regional tournament last week, the men’s polo team took on ateam that included a number of former Cornellians Friday night at the Oxley Equestrian Center. The team of former Carnelian red and white members represented a collection of Maryland state club players. Heading into the game, the Red was tentative about their chances. Following their 25-12 outpacing of the 25 and 26 year-olds however, the current Cornell seniors seemed very pleased with their play.
“These guys used to be the best players in the country, and they’re still amazing players,” said senior Bobby Harvey, who scored five goals on Maryland for the Red. “They just don’t play every day anymore like we do. They kind of got tired towards the end of the game. We relaxed a lot and goals started falling.”
For a team that has struggled at times to both relax as well as find a way to put the ball in between the pipes, this is just the kind of performance the 15-4 Red needed heading into the national tournament this weekend.
“We played loose and goals started to fall from all over the field,” Harvey said. “[Sophomore] Max [Constant] and [senior] Rich [Weidel] were hitting shots from midfield. This [Maryland state club] team was similar to UVa in that they all knew where each other were going to be, so we had to defend against that and counter that with our offense. ”
Constant notched 12 points to put together an overall strong performance while Weidel collected eight lamp lighters.
“I think we’re really playing well in preparation for nationals,” Weidel said. “They couldn’t really keep up with us. We played a long, strung out game and it worked to our advantage.”
Weidel was optimistic about the Red’s chances in the “Big Dance,” which commences in Charlottesville, Va. this weekend.
“We only lost to Virginia this year,” said the New Jersey native, “and in all likelihood, we’ll end up playing them in the finals if we make it that far. Similarly to last year, we lost to them every time we played them during the regular season, but we were able to beat them in the national semi-finals. We’re playing extremely well right now.”
The women’s team extended their unbeaten season Saturday night at the Oxley Equestrian Center when they took down a collection from the state of Maryland’s most prominent players with its 19-10 victory. The No. 1 team in the country will be heading into the national tournament this weekend in Charlottesville. The Red won the Northeast regional tournament on March 22.
“The game was a great tune-up match for nationals,” said senior captain Ariana Constant. “It was fast paced, and the intensity of the game was high. The level of play was elevated, and if we can bring that speed into next week’s game(s), we should have a lot of success.”