Cornell men’s and women’s polo continued their winning ways this past weekend as both teams earned important early-season victories.
On the men’s side, the Red notched a weekend sweep, defeating both Westport and Skidmore, 14-11, and 13-4, respectively. Meanwhile, the women’s team notched a 21-11 victory over Melinda’s Prospect from the Oxley Equestrian Center.
Coming off an impressive 11-2 victory against Bluestone Farm, women’s polo (2-1) added another dominant victory to their resume on Friday. Cornell dominated its opponent over the course of the entire game, coasting to a 10-point victory.
“This weekend, I think we played extremely well,” said senior captain Shariah Harris. “We played a pretty tough and experienced team, so we are very excited that we were able to pull that game out as a win.”
With three consecutive wins, the men’s team (3-0) is off to its best start since 2016 when it began the year with seven straight victories.
The early success of both Cornell polo programs cannot be discussed without mentioning both groups’ new leader. Newly-appointed head coach Branden Van Loon ’13 has been leading his teams to success so far this season. Players from both the men’s and women’s teams recognize that the first-year head coach has been integral to their success.
“Our new coach has contributed greatly to our teams’ success thus far,” Harris said. “Whether that is incorporating new drills during practice or reviewing more game film, he always comes up with new ways for us to better ourselves individually and also as a team.”
Both programs hope to carry this early momentum into Virginia later this week for the annual University of Virginia Invitational. The men’s team will battle Southern Methodist University on Oct. 24 in the first round. If they advance, they will then take on the winner of the UVA-Kentucky matchup for the title on Oct. 26.
On the women’s side, Cornell will take on Texas A&M on Oct. 25. The team will look to avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss to Texas. If the women prevail, they will also face either UVA or Kentucky in the finals on Oct. 27.
The UVA Invitational will be a true test of where both programs are at this early stage in the season. UVA hosts some of the most talented teams in the country, and the Red will see its best competition of the year thus far.
“Our goal heading into the Virginia tournament is to continue with the same intensity and aggression that we had for our game against Melinda’s Prospect this past weekend,” Harris said. “I believe if we keep up that intensity and our team cohesion, we have a very strong chance to win the tournament.”
With confidence emanating from the program, all eyes will be on Cornell when it competes in Virginia this week.