After solid performances at last year’s national championships, the men and women’s polo teams entered this season with high expectations. Success has been the story so far, with the women’s team riding undefeated — including first place at the Bill Field Invitational — and the men posting a 5-2 record.Through nine games, the women outscored opponents by a staggering 236-68. While the majority of the matches have been relatively easy wins, both games against defending national champion UVA were competitive — ending in one and four goal victories for the Red. “I feel that we’ve made very good progress [in communication] as evidenced by the UVA game — once it clicks, it clicks,” senior captain Ali Hoffman said. “Going into next semester, that is definitely going to be something we’re focusing on.”Despite the success at the recent invitational, Hoffman cautions that the team shouldn’t underestimate anyone. “Just because we won the field tournament, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re a lock-in for nationals,” she said.The men’s team didn’t make it to the finals at the invitational — it lost the semifinal game by one goal to Colorado State.“For the men, I can honestly say that they have performed through the Field tournament a little bit higher than my expectations,” head coach David Eldredge ’81 said. “I felt that we were in the mix — I wasn’t sure that we were as close as we showed we were in the tournament.”Following regular season play, the regional tournament kicks off in late March. Should the men and women’s teams either win the region or perform well enough to secure a wild-card bid, they will make an appearance at the National Championships in April.For the men, the road to the National Championship finals consists of difficult teams.“It’s a tough hill to climb for the guys, but they’ve shown they’ve been able to compete so far with [the other teams]. Hopefully we can compete with them and climb that ladder to the top,”Eldredge said.
Original Author: Emily Berman