Four different Cornell men’s polo players wrapped up their fall seasons with three-goal performances in the final match of the semester. Sophomores Nick Paciorek and Santiago Valenzuela and juniors Patricio Fraga-Errecart and Pablo Herrera all tallied three goals in the 16-10 win over Babson College on Saturday, with an additional pair of goals coming from junior Alexander Dawson.
The Red didn’t waste any time, jumping out to a 5-1 lead in the opening minutes of the game before ending the first chukker with a 7-2 edge.
The Red never ceded its lead, though Babson fought valiantly the entire game, inching its way back to within a three-goal deficit twice in the second chukker. The Red gradually pulled away for the remainder of the game.
The victory cements Cornell’s fall record at 9-2. It’s an impressive start for a team that did not compete for the entire 2020-21 season due to COVID.
“I’m very proud of how the team has done this year after a year without competition due to COVID,” Valenzuela said.
Valenzuela said he believes the season’s success is due to the team becoming more comfortable playing together.
“I would attribute our recent success to a substantial improvement in our team chemistry,” Valenzuela said. “Practicing and competing has certainly brought the team closer together.”
Valenzuela, a sophomore, is an essential building block in the team’s foundation. His development as well as the development of some other promising young athletes will determine the success of the Polo team to come.
While it may seem like a lot of pressure, Valenzuela never loses focus on why he competes in the first place.
“Frankly, getting to play the sport I love with some of my closest friends has been one of the best experiences I’ve had at Cornell,” Valenzuela.
While winning and bolstering the team’s strong record are important pursuits, Valenzuela and his teammates have one particular goal in mind.
“Our main goal for next semester is definitely to beat [Virginia] and bring a National Championship to the Big Red Family,” Valenzuela said.