Cornell polo head coach David Eldredge guided his riders to mixed results this weekend but sees good signs in his team’s play. “I am quite happy with where they are,” Eldredge said of his women’s team, continuing that the men “[Will] be just fine.”
In the Red polo action last weekend, the Cornell women (3-1) walked away with two victories on the road, winning ,13-7, against Virginia Polo Club on Friday and 20-9 against UConn Polo Club on Sunday. The Cornell men suffered a road loss, dropping a close 13-12 match to Virginia on Friday. Coming off a loss the weekend before, the women worked on their game in preparation for the two teams who senior rider Anna Winslow called Cornell’s biggest rivals. “We were pushed a lot harder in practice,” she said.
The men’s lacrosse team brought a disciplined, hard-nosed approach in the first 30 minutes of its semifinal matchup against the Cavaliers, and rode rookie attackman Rob Pannell to an 8-2 lead at halftime. The Ivy League Rookie of the Year has two goals and two assists in the first half. Junior attackman Ryan Hurley, who had shooting problems his past few games, has two goals and an assist and looks sharp around the cage.
Virginia goalie Adam Ghitelman, the hottest goalie in the tournament to date, had trouble stopping shots and Virginia’s defenders have been caught “ball-watching,” allowing Cornell’s cutting offensive players to take advantage of poor off-ball coverage.
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Cornell gave top-ranked Virginia something to worry about, taking a 7-6 lead into the locker rooms on Sunday afternoon and allowing even the most pessimistic fans to hope. The good fortune did not last, however, and the Cavaliers surged back over the next two periods to hand the No. 4 Red its first loss of the season, 14-10.
With the loss, Cornell slips to 2-1 on the season. Virginia remains perfect, with a 7-0 record overall.
The No. 4 men’s lacrosse team is off to a quick 2-0 start to the 2009 season and will get the chance to make a loud statement on Sunday when it takes on No. 1 Virginia at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va. A team as deep and talented as the Red would be favored in most games, but against the Cavaliers, who are off to a perfect 6-0 start this season, Cornell would have to be considered the underdog. Underdog or not, head coach Jeff Tambroni has a plan for his team.
“We’re going to stay away from the underdog/favorite [mindset] and just focus on the little things that we can do against Virginia,” Tambroni said. “They have weaknesses, like every other team, and we’re going to make sure we try to exploit those.”
This weekend, the men’s and women’s polo teams will renew arguably their biggest rivalries as both teams will travel to Virginia.
After slipping by the Toronto Polo Club, 15-12, last weekend, the men’s team (11-3) must shift the relaxed mindset it had against Toronto, to one of grit and determination as it prepares for its biggest match of the season to date.
In the two squads’ first meeting of the season, back on Oct. 17, the Cavaliers took down the visiting Red, 23-5. In the second matchup, on Nov. 23, the Red narrowed the gap and lost, 27-17, at the Oxley Equestrian Center. Then, on Jan. 31, hoping to pull off an upset, the Red faltered against UVa again at home. Following a third chukker surge, Cornell lost, 23-12.