Despite the weather at the Greenwich Polo Club on Saturday, the Yale polo alumni team was not discouraged and still competed — sort of.
The rainy weather made for dangerous horse-riding conditions, so instead of mounting horses to play against rival Harvard alumni, the Yale polo alumni rode bikes for a bicycle polo display. Unlike traditional polo, bicycle polo, aside from the obvious absence of a horse, is played with a shorter mallet.
While the Yale alums were busy with bicycle polo exhibitions, members of the Yale polo team, who helped organize the charity exhibition match, were busy raising money for their club team as well as the Charity Network of New York City. The $125 admission price for the event included an auction that attracted many New York socialites who traveled to Greenwich on a special express train.
Following what captain Alexandra Reeve ’05 described as a “good development year”, many sophomores on the young club team who had not played before coming to Yale are already on the varsity squad. Sophomores who have made the transition include Mia Simpson ’06, Sarah Hummel ’06, Sasha Novograd ’06, Liz Jordan ’06, Emily Wang ’06 and Kyla Harris ’06. In addition to Reeve, Philippa Pavia ’05 and Catherine Pitt ’04 are also returning to the varsity team.
The women’s side will face the University of Connecticut Oct. 19 in its first match of the season. Yale has lost to Connecticut both times the programs have met officially, but Yale has beaten Connecticut twice in scrimmages.
The women also will face the University of Virginia, Oxford and Cambridge in the Atlantic Cup in April, and Cornell in the Field Cup, the program’s biggest match of the year. The Field Cup will take place Nov. 19 to Nov. 23.
On the men’s side, only four players return. But in a game where only three people take the field at a time, that may be good enough to hold off teams such as Connecticut and Virginia which boast players who have played polo since high school.
“As long as we can play well within our own ability, we’ll be happy,” captain Michael Dawson ’04 said.
Returning varsity players on the men’s side are Dawson, Jacob Mullin ’05, Jacques Villarreal ’05 and veteran polo player Robert Burk ’05. Burk is the only returning player on the men’s team who played in high school before coming to Yale.
But Dawson was quick to point out that several of the incoming freshmen have some previous polo experience, and transfer Charlie Munford ’06 has ridden horses before. Because of his prior experience with riding, Munford should have an easier time learning the game of polo. The men’s club team will be playing a schedule similar to the girls’, facing Connecticut, Virginia, Cornell, Oxford and Cambridge throughout the course of the season.