The polo squads are heading south this weekend to take on their Kentucky rival. After burying the UVA team, 29-8, at home last weekend, the women’s team hopes to add another victory to its continued winning streak.
The women moved to 14-0 for the season after their win against UVA. The match was different than the team’s last two meetings with UVA, when the Red succeeded by close margins, 18-12, 18-14. This time, Cornell dominated play from the start, winning by over 20 points. This, in large part, was because one of UVA’s starting players, Isabella Wolf, did not travel to Ithaca with her team.
“They were still very good competition and they stayed with us the entire time, but we were just able to outplay them,” said junior Ali Hoffman. “Isabella does play a pretty strong factor into their team, so they were not the same team we’re used to playing.”
The Red followed the first Cavaliers goal with a streak of 10 goals of its own, and was up, 17-3, by the half.
“We got off to a decent lead at the start, which gave us a good cushion, so we were able to work through and keep our motivation up,” Hoffman said.
Senior Lizzie Wisner tallied 11 goals in the match, freshman Kailey Eldredge eight, Hoffman four, and senior Jess Cross one.
To prepare for the approaching match against Kentucky, the Red is focusing on improving its penalty shots.
“We’ve been working on our foul shots, which we’ve been doing every week, but I think it’s going to play an especially important part in this game. We’re going to be working on the accuracy with those,” Hoffman said. “We’re also working on playing a lot cleaner than we have at the beginning of the year and getting off to a strong start like we did against UVA.”
Cornell defeated the Wildcats twice already this season at home, but will be taking this away match seriously, according to Hoffman.
“It’s going to be a tough game. They always give us a run for our money no matter what arena they’re playing in,” she said. “You could describe [the Wildcats] as very rough and tough riders and they’re not going to let us have an easy time.”
The men’s team will be facing Kentucky for the second time this season, after beating the Wildcats, 23-17, in November.
“Kentucky is certainly a team that we look forward to playing each year,” said senior Max Constant. “We always expect a really solid game out of them.”
With the close of the season approaching, a win against Kentucky is especially important for the Red’s rankings.
“It can have the potential implications for our national ranking. If we don’t win this, it could drop us in the national ranking, so it’s a really important game for us to win,” Constant said.
At this point in the season, Cornell needs to keep up its momentum.
“It’s a tough point in the season because this is where the marathon sort of kicks in, because we’ve been going since August,” Constant said. “We’ve spent a lot of time going over past game tapes talking about what we all need to strengthen.”
The team has been preparing for this matchup.
“For us, what we really want to do is just to make some final adjustments, make sure we’re getting out any kinks, and just keep playing good, consistent polo,” Constant said.
A challenge the Red expects to face going up against Kentucky will be adjusting to playing in a different arena on different horses.
“It’s always very difficult to travel to an arena and to play down in Kentucky given the size of their arena, the footing, and also because of their horses,” Constant said. “But we’re just looking to go into the game and execute our game play and hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
Original Author: Laura Dwulet