March 4, 2013

POLO | C.U. Trampled by Maryland

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The women’s polo team lost its bid for an undefeated season this past weekend after dropping an 18-16 decision to the Maryland Polo Club.

The Red now stands at 8-1 at home and 11-1 overall, with just three weeks remaining until the regional championship tournament.

The Baltimore-based MPC, which is made up of a mix of high school students and older players, was the Red’s first non-collegiate opponent.

According to head coach David Eldredge ’81, while the MPC played a typically excellent game, the Red could have come out on top if the team had been more focused.

“[The MPC] totally met the expectation I had — that was something I was expecting out of them,” he said. “On the flip side, had we been our focused, normal self, I believe we could have won this game. We had our opportunities [and] they were there; we gave them away with simple sloppy mistakes.”

This matchup was the Red’s first game in more than a month due to a horse virus in Cornell’s barn that forced the cancellation or postponement of two home games. The time off — which was similar in length to the break the team took for Cornell’s winter recess — affected the team’s performance, Eldredge said.

“We weren’t mentally ready heading into this game,” he said. “On the plus side, the girls came out of it with the whole attitude of ‘I wasn’t ready, I know I wasn’t ready [and] that is never going to happen again.’ That’s really the attitude I want out of them.”

Senior co-captain Ali Hoffman, junior co-captain Kailey Eldredge and freshman Anna Winslow started for the Red. The fourth core member of the team, freshman Devin Cox, sat out this weekend due to a sprained medial collateral ligament.

The first chukker started slowly for the Red, who fell behind 3-1 in the first few minutes before tying it up 3-3. MPC went on a four goal run in the second chukker to make the game 7-3, but the Red managed to find the goal again and the half ended with the Red down, 8-6. A strong opening in the third chukker saw an energized Red squad capture a slim 11-10 lead, the team’s only advantage during the game. MPC fought back with four unanswered goals, however, to end the third with the Red behind, 14-11. Despite outscoring MPC 5-4 in the fourth, the Red was unable to overcome its deficit and dropped the match, 18-16.

“They went out at a little too easy of a pace, and their focus wasn’t as good as it had been at other times in the year,” Eldredge said. “In some ways, I’m kind of happy this happened, because it’s going to make it evident that it’s not just a cake walk.”

Although the team had been scheduled to take on Colorado State next weekend, the game was cancelled due to high travel costs. Instead, the women will play either a club from Virginia or a club from Toronto. The men’s team, which had this past weekend off, is back in action next weekend as well when it plays the Baltimore Polo Club on Friday.

Eldredge said he hopes the men will be able to learn from the women’s loss this past weekend. “After the women lost, I said to [the men] ‘that’s what I’m afraid is going to happen to you guys,’ ” he said. “Hopefully they’re going to be able to learn from the lesson of the women. I expect the team to be a very similar type of thing to the game we had with the women — if we stumble, they can beat us.”

Original Author: Emily Berman