April 21, 2011

Red, Cavaliers Fight for National Title at Oxley

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Both the women’s and men’s polo teams advanced to Saturday’s USPA National finals, after winning in the opening rounds of the tournament. Coming off a win against Texas A&M on Wednesday, 22-11, the women will face No. 2 Virginia in the finals on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The men will also host UVA in the finals on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., after their victory, 22-18, over Colorado State in the semifinals.

The undefeated women (20-0) broke away from Texas A&M in the second chukker of Wednesday’s match, coming into the half ahead, 12-5. The Red then built a 13-goal lead in the second half, before doubling up on the Aggies.

“We worked really well together. We had a lot of great team communication, and we were hitting passes quickly to each other, which enabled us to get ahead and stretch out the lead like we did,” said senior Lizzie Wisner.

The UVA women won their opening game against Kentucky by a single goal, 18-17, in an overtime shootout. The Red has played UVA three times already this season, winning narrowly the first two times, 18-12, 18-14, and blowing out the Cavaliers in the final match, 29-8.

“We’re confident, with reservations … The second time we played them, one of their girls couldn’t make it up, so it will be different from that game — which is our most recent memory of them,” Wisner said. “They’re a solid team, but we’re pretty confident that, if we play our game, we can hopefully pull it out.”

The Red anticipates UVA will put up another strong fight, as the Cavaliers did in the three regular season matchups between the teams.

“They’re a pretty physical team, so they’ll be with us all the way around. They’re very good at hitting the long ball, so they’ll be looking to push the ball down the field … They also play very cleanly so we don’t get to capitalize on their fouls,” Wisner said.

For the men (15-4), persistence was key to Cornell’s win over Colorado State yesterday.

“We’re a group of fighters,” said senior captain Max Constant. “When we’re doing well we don’t give up — and when we’re down a couple goals we don’t give up — so I think staying positive during the game and how we kept fighting was really the game changer [on Thursday].”

Saturday’s match will be the third time the men compete against UVA this season. Cornell fell to Virginia in those two previous matches, 17-16, 19-10. Despite the recent history between the two squads, the Red is confident of its chances heading into this battle for the national championship.

“We’ve worked hard all season for this,” Constant said. “We wouldn’t have it any other way. We want to be in the championship game and UVA’s a great team. I’m just looking forward to having a good time for my last game.”

Original Author: Laura Dwulet