February 3, 2010

Polo Gears Up for Stretch Run

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The Red polo teams will host Harvard this weekend at the Oxley Equestrian Center. The men’s squad will play the Crimson on Friday at 7:30 p.m., while the women will return to action Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Both Cornell teams are coming into this weekend with winning streaks. The men’s squad has won its last three games –– including one game during the first half of the season –– while the women are undefeated for the year with an 11-game winning streak.

It is a crucial time in the season for both polo squads, since it is the second half of the season and all teams in the nation are looking to make some final adjustments to prepare for the regional and national tournaments.

The Red is not the exception. Head coach David Eldredge acknowledges that both of his squads have room for improvement, and he is looking to the games against Harvard as perfect occasions to enhance Cornell’s game.

Since both of Harvard’s squads are inferior in talent to those of the Red, Eldredge’s strategy for the weekend is to play the teams’ alternates so he can reduce the risk of injuries to some key players and improve the depth of both squads at the same time.

He also remarked that the alternates would make sure the teams do not lose any focus –– a factor that is highly important at this stage of the season.

“When your team is winning, the players usually get complacent,” Eldredge said. “But the alternates bring to the game that desire to play, and they make sure that the team keeps its intensity, which is something we don’t want to get down.”

Regarding the multi-sports rivalry between the Red and the Crimson, Eldredge believes that the game is not of significant meaning for Cornell. Junior captain Lizzie Wisner echoed this sentiment.

“There isn’t a special meaning for us [in the game against Harvard]. They have a program that is just getting started and is one of the weaker teams,” Wisner said.

Junior captain Max Constant, however, admits that there is some rivalry on the men’s side.

“Traditionally, the game has had a special meaning, especially in the past few years,” Constant said. “We always look forward to playing them.”

Original Author: AJ Ortiz