November 13, 2012

POLO | Both Men And Women­­­’s Teams Crush Opponents

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The women’s and men’s polo teams trounced opponents this past weekend, with the women dominating UConn, 37-5, in an away game and the men handling the Maryland Polo Club, 21-6, at home. The teams will now take a break from regular season play to host the Bill Field Invitational — a five-day tournament that runs from Nov. 14 to Nov. 18.The women (6-0) faced UConn for the second week in a row after topping the Huskies, 23-5, last Saturday at Oxley. A slightly different lineup played in this game, as freshmen regulars Anna Winslow and Devin Cox replaced juniors Maddie Olberg and Mariah Lavitt. Winslow started the game alongside captains junior Kailey Eldredge and senior Ali Hoffman, with Cox swapping with Winslow for the second chukker. Despite UConn’s home-field advantage, the Red jumped out to an insurmountable 25-0 lead at the half.“They came out very slowly, and we came out on top of our game,” Hoffman said. “We were in the right places in the right time and things spread out.”Eldredge sat out the third chukker before replacing Hoffman for the fourth. Eldredge, who led the team with 10 goals in last week’s game against UConn, again set the pace with a team-high 14 goals. Winslow and Cox finished just behind Eldredge with 10 goals each, while Hoffman rounded out the score with three.On the men’s side, junior captain Nik Feldman led the scoring with 11 goals. Feldman started alongside fellow captain senior Branden Van Loon and sophomore Nick Steig, and the Red quickly took a 4-0 lead after the first chukker and finished leading 10-3 at the half. The team kept up the pressure in the second half, outscoring the Maryland Polo Club 11-3. Although Cornell won by double-digits, head coach David Eldredge ’81 emphasized the match’s difficulty.“It was actually not an easy game,” he said. “They had to work for every goal they made. They had to make some very good defensive plays to keep the whole thing in control. I was very pleased with the competitiveness and how the whole team did.”Both the men and women aim to carry the momentum into the upcoming tournament. The action kicks off with Wednesday’s game between the women’s teams of the University of Connecticut and UMass. Cornell doesn’t begin play until Friday, when the women play UMass, followed by the men’s game against a yet to be determined opponent. Both the men and women lost in last year’s semifinals — the men lost a tough game to Colorado State, while the women fell to Kentucky in a shootout.According to David Eldredge, the women’s game against Kentucky is one of the games he is most looking forward to playing. The women easily defeated Kentucky, 26-7, in their matchup in late October, but the Wildcats were playing without one of their top players.“University of Kentucky is going to be a very good game,” he said. “We’re really going to get to see what they’re actually like.”Should the women defeat Kentucky, the team will most likely face off against the University of Virginia in the finals. While the women’s tournament is set up in straightforward bracket style — three teams in each bracket, and the team with the best record advances to the finals — the men’s field includes only five teams, which gives the tournament a more loose structure.In recent years, the teams that have won this tournament have taken home the top prize at April’s national tournament, helping teams determine the competition play in the spring.“[The Bill Field Invitational] gives us a very good idea of what our standing is going to be for [the national] tournament,” David Eldredge said. “It gives us an idea of what we’re going to have to do to improve.”

Original Author: Emily Berman