April 3, 2011

Wins in Toronto Help Polo Squads Prepare for Regionals

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The polo squads defeated their Toronto opponents this weekend to add a win to each of their respective records. The men (12-4) topped the True Blue, 17-9, and the women (17-0) remained undefeated after another win, 16-9.

With the upcoming regional tournament slated for next weekend, the Toronto match was a good chance for the men’s team to work out any kinks and to make certain the spring break did not disrupt the group’s play.

“One of the most challenging things was just making sure we picked up where we left off right before break … making sure that we iron out all of the little inconsistencies, and making sure that we play the way we know and can play,” said senior captain Max Constant.

Not allowing the scoring swings of Toronto to throw its players off, the Cornell team powered past the True Blue for the win.

“We were up by a couple of goals early on and they ended up tying it up right at the half. Often times a lot of teams in these situations will either get flustered or frustrated with the game or the style of play and we actually managed to keep our composure and keep moving forward and ending up coming out on top,” Constant said.

This steadiness of play the Red displayed throughout the matchup against Toronto is important for the team to carry over into future matches, according to the captain.

“When it comes down to nationals time, a lot of the teams that we play are really talented and we could experience five- or seven-goal swings either way. So it’s really important to maintain that consistency throughout the whole game,” Constant said.

The Red was able to take advantage of Toronto’s weaknesses in the 17-9 win to play up its own cohesiveness and offensive strength.

“They were a very talented team and their game is somewhat similar to some of the opponents we’ve had,” said head coach David Eldridge. “You kind of get caught up sometimes on just the one-on-one battles and we definitely wanted to make sure that we got into the team aspect of it where each of our players can definitely take out one of the other players in passing up somebody defensively and offensively being able to make the proper plays.”

After the win, the Red feels it is prepared for the regional tournament.

“We’re ready to go into the regional tournament. We’ve been looking forward to this tournament for a while,” Constant said. “Right now where we are as a team we like where we are positioned and we know what we have to do in order to secure our place … It all starts with winning the regional next weekend.”

Similar to the men’s matchup, the women’s game on Friday was a successful road marker to gauge where the team stands in terms of preparedness for the upcoming regionals.

“It was very typical of what we’ve been able to do this year,” Eldredge added. “We played a good solid first half. The first chukker was a very intensive battle and we played a 2-2 game. In the second chukker, we managed to pull ahead.”

As has been the pattern in recent games, the Red pulled ahead after the break and adjusted well to its opponent in the third chukker.

“It seems like we come out third chukker once we get the good feel for a team and we are able to extend the lead very nicely. Defensively we made some adjustments that actually shut them out and we really took control of the game,” Eldredge said.

According to the head coach, the consistency the women’s team showed in the matchup should bode well for the upcoming regional matchups.

“We were going into this weekend after break and we were looking to get back into our consistency and our form going into the regionals next week,” he said. “I think the game accomplished that really well because the Toronto team definitely challenged us and made us have to work to get that game that we’ve been playing pretty consistently now for a couple of months.”

Original Author: Laura Dwulet