January 27, 2010

Polo Seeks to Improve National Credentials

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The women’s and men’s polo teams will host the University of Kentucky this weekend at the Oxley Equestrian Center. The women’s side will play its first game of the semester Friday at 7:30 p.m. while the men’s squad will face the Wildcats Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The undefeated women’s team has not been in action since it defeated Skidmore College, 16-10, during the end of the season’s first half. Cornell will meet Kentucky for the second time this season, the first game being a close 15-11 triumph at the Bill Field Invitational hosted by Cornell.

During that matchup, Cornell was held to a season-low 17 goals and allowed 11 goals, which is the second-worst defensive performance for the team so far.

However, the Wildcats’ ability to play well against the Red is not something new.

Kentucky is an experienced team that has played very well against Cornell over the past two seasons — last year, they managed to lose by only two goals.

However, the Red’s head coach David Eldredge ‘81 believes that Cornell’s tight result against Kentucky was more a result of the Red’s performance than the Wildcats’.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been in the game [against Kentucky], which worked against us,” Eldredge said. “It was one of those games that you win out but that you are not playing at your full potential.”

Even though the Cornell women’s squad did not play as dominantly as it is used to, the team made the appropriate adjustments to counterattack the Wildcats’ game and come out with the victory.

One of the major reasons the Red is undefeated this year is due to its ability to adapt to the opponent’s performance and execute what is necessary to defeat opponents.

Even though Cornell is one of the favorites for the national title, the team’s mentality is focused on treating every opponent with respect, especially dangerous teams like the Wildcats.

“We have defeated every major team that there is to beat,” Eldredge said. “But the season is not over because those teams are going to continue improving. Right now we are No. 1, but if we do not keep with our game teams like Kentucky can take advantage of it.”

On the other hand, the men’s side will play its second game of the semester after a dominant 20-9 performance against Cowtown. Cornell’s home matchup with Kentucky on Saturday will be the first out of three meetings between the Red and the Wildcats, a squad which could be a potential opponent of Cornell in the national tournament.

“It is always a good to see what the talent around the country looks like and to have competitive games against competitive teams,” said junior captain Max Constant. “It helps us get ready for tournament time.”

Just like the women’s team, the men’s squad is not underestimating any opponent and is completely focused on improving for the national tournament.

“They are going to be a tough team to beat, but we are looking forward at this particular challenge,” Eldredge said. “We are not taking them easy because they can easily knock us out.”

Original Author: AJ Ortiz