Starting off the spring season with a 16-14 win against the Work to Ride team on Saturday, the men’s polo team proves it has a more consistent and deeper squad than before.
“I’m very happy that this was the starting point,” said head coach David Eldredge ’81.
This win followed a 22-13 win for the Red over Winter Break against Kemptville.
There was a positive change in the way Cornell played against Work to Ride on Saturday as compared to in the two teams’ previous matchup in October.
In early Fall, the Red was still working out the kinks in competitive play after the summer break, and fell to Work to Ride, 15-16.
“Personally, I was much more confident going into this game than I was in the October game because I felt I was able to keep myself tuned up over break,” said sophomore Branden Van Loon.
Eldredge explained that the team has come a long way this year, with the win on Saturday a testament to the Red’s increased consistency in play.
“In the Fall when we first started out we were just struggling. We just couldn’t put together consistency. We couldn’t get working with one another very well which was odd because we were the same team that we were in the spring we just couldn’t seem to pull it together,” Eldredge said. “There was a marked improvement throughout the semester and then coming into the game here.”
The Red came away with the victory even though one of its regular starters sat out due to sickness. Senior David Dunstan filled in for Connor Pardell to play alongside senior Max Constant and Van Loon.
Van Loon helped to keep Cornell on the scoreboard, scoring seven goals during the match. He delivered for the Red in terms of penalty shots, an area that has been a sticking point for the team in the past. As a whole, the team is focusing on practicing penalty shots to improve confidence during competition.
“During practices while I’m warming up my horse I’ll go and take a couple of penalty shots, and this coming semester we’re going to be doing a foul-shot practice in the mornings,” Van Loon said.
“He did a very good job with those penalty shots … we have had some problems with those and I was happy to see that they worked some of that out and we did well,” Eldredge said.
Cornell’s success in foul shots helped in a game that was close from the first chukker. Coming into the second chukker, the Red was tied with its opponent before getting a one-goal lead by the close of the first half.
“It was very much a back-and-forth game which was what we had expected and then in the third chukker we actually, in the last couple seconds, scored a goal to tie it up heading into the fourth,” Eldredge said.
Cornell pulled ahead by two goals to close off the match with a win.
“On the whole, for our first game back we were very pleased,” Eldredge said.
The women remain unbeaten, with December’s overpowering 20-3 win over Kemptville adding to their winning record.
Original Author: Laura Dwulet