Winter has flown by! The quarter was spent gearing up for the Western Regional Tournament. The women’s team kicked things off with early away games at Calpoly, and then traveled to the east coast to play Skidmore, UConn, and Cornell. The games really pushed the women’s team to anticipate faster play, and sitting on completely new horses was a great experience. Thanks to all the schools for hosting! Later in January the women played Westmont. Sophomores Raquel Lane and Kathryn Hathaway helped win their first game for the Cardinal.
In February the men’s team had their first home game against Westmont. It was a tough first game and pushed the men’s team to improve their teamwork. The next weekend the men played Oregon State. The Oregon State team brought the rain with them, but luckily the game was moved to an indoor arena at Southbay Polo. Led by team captain, Eric Birdsall, the men’s teamwork improved throughout the game and they beat Oregon by three points.
The women’s team won a round robin with UC Davis and Calpoly. As their last home games, both teams hosted Oregon State at the end of February. The men’s game ended up being a scrimmage, as one of their key players was ill. Although the women’s game was fairly evenly matched, Oregon won by four points. To round out the regular season the women road-tripped up to Oregon to play Oregon State one last time before Regionals. All three starters contributed. Olivia Cords had some beautiful nearside shots to goal, Laura Kurt helped open up the game, and Shivani Torres did a great job finishing goals on the boards. Raquel Lane played in her first away game and rose to the level of play.
Both the men’s and women’s teams went straight on to Regionals. The women played first on Saturday morning matched against Oregon State. All three starters went into their game a little nervous, as this was their last collegiate game for Stanford. Starting on Poway horses, the girls played a little unfocused and were down by six after the first chukker. They battled their way upwards the rest of the game. Olivia Cords helped turn the tide of the game with well-executed penalty shots. Despite the rest of the game being closely matched, the women could not overcome the deficit in the first chukker, and the final score was 10-14 in favor of eventual Regional Champions, Oregon State. We wish the Oregon State girls the best of luck at Nationals!
The men’s team also began their weekend playing Oregon State. Eric Birdsall consistently turned the ball and had big booming shots to across the arena. Aaron Furrer had a number of impressive goals and Jack Cook did a great job anticipating the play and turning for back shots. The Oregon State team showed a lot of grit and determination, but the Stanford men won the game. The next day, the men’s team played in the final game against Westmont. This was a very fast and open game. Westmont’s four-goaler, Tony Uretz, provided some steep competition. The men’s team rose to the challenge and played their best game of the season. Senior Jack Cook made one final penalty two for Stanford, to make the final score 10-16 in favor of Westmont.
The Regionals Tournament cumulated with an awards ceremony. Stanford’s Grappa won Best Playing Men’s Pony. Grappa has been in the Club for many years and this award was well deserved. Team captains Eric Birdsall and Olivia Cords won All-star players awards. Overall, both teams worked really hard to improve their play this season and it showed. Thank you to everyone who made this season successful. Thanks to the local players in the area for scrimmaging the teams and the coaches for all the time and effort they put in to help each player reach their potential.
In addition to the competitive successes this season, Chris Collins donated four horses to Stanford Polo. Thank you so much to Chris Collins for Eddie, Sid, Ruthie, and Freddie. The horses have added a lot of depth to the Stanford string and have been a pleasure to ride. Lastly, we are very sad to report the passing of Mimosa, one of the best-loved horses in the Club. Mimosa had a colic history, and despite opting for colic surgery, she did not make it. The team came together to care for her, with multiple students staying with her through the night. We will miss her very much.
Spring brings a new focus to the club. While the horses get some time off over the next few weeks, the team plans on accomplishing some cleaning projects before moving to practice on the field. As the days get longer, we are looking forward to the summer of field polo that lies ahead.