January 31, 2011

Top-Ranked Women’s Polo Beats No. 2 Kentucky, Staying Undefeated

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The women’s polo team topped No. 2 ranked Kentucky, 18-12, in Saturday’s match at the Oxley Equestrian Center. This No. 1 ranked Cornell team is holding its ground, showing no signs of surrendering the top spot in the USPA.“We were more confident coming out. … We’ve only been back practicing for a week and a half now so it could have gone smoother, but it was a lot smoother than we were expecting it to be,” said senior Lizzie Wisner. The Red anticipated the Wildcats would apply plenty of pressure and show the same sort of back and forth scoring and physical play that characterized last semester’s 21-15 win over Kentucky.“We were a lot smoother as far as how we played than we were in November. In November we were successful, but it wasn’t the cleanest … of games,” said head coach David Eldredge. “I went into the game thinking that we might have a little tougher time against Kentucky … because there wasn’t the element of surprise after they had played us once.”This time around, the Red came out fast and made some early scoring runs to secure a lead over their challenger. Wisner and freshman Kailey Eldredge carried the Red in scoring, notching six goals apiece. “We were also better prepared for them and what they do having played them once, and that was a huge thing as far as how we were able to handle them,” Eldredge said. The Red jumped ahead with six goals in the first chukker, bringing the score to 6-2 after the first and then widening the gap at the half, 10-5. “It set them back a little bit that we came out and scored so many because in the past games we started out trading goals back and forth. It gave us confidence, too,” Wisner said.Cornell held on to its sizable lead into the fourth chukker, at one point advancing the score to 17-8, before the Wildcats answered back with a few late game goals. “We were ahead by nine goals with only a few minutes left and it would have been very difficult for them to catch us at that point,” Eldridge said. “In some ways there was a little let up from our side because the girls could look up and see that we had the game in hand, but it also [shows] how good the Kentucky team is and how quickly they can put goals on the board if you become [relaxed].”With a string of spring matches approaching, the Red plans on sticking to a tough training and competition schedule to prepare for its upcoming contests. “We’ll continue working on team plays and we’ll start working a lot more on foul shots this semester,” Wisner said. “This spring semester is a harder schedule than we usually have and we don’t have any easy games this spring so I think that’ll do a lot for us.” The Red now holds a 12-0 record and is placing an emphasis on holding onto its undefeated record.  “It gives us a lot of confidence in going on further [through] the rest of the semester and preparing for the tournaments when they come up in April,” Eldredge said.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the women’s polo team “showed no signs of surrendering the top spot in the NCAA.” In fact, both Cornell polo teams compete in the USPA, not the NCAA.

Original Author: Laura Dwulet