by U.S. Polo Correspondent Alex Webbe

Bob Jornayvaz’s Valiente team (Bob Jornayvaz, Santi Torres, Sapo Caset and Adolfo Cambiaso) led Alegria (Julian Mannix, Clemente Zavaleta, Mariano Aguerre and Hilario Ulloa) through most of the game but needed a sixth chukker rally to take and hold the lead in an 11-10 victory in the final of the 2014 USPA Piaget Gold Cup at the International Polo Club Sunday afternoon.

An Alegria foul in the opening minute of play sent Valiente’s Sapo Caset to the penalty line where he converted the shot for a goal and the early 1-0 lead. Clemente Zavaleta tied it up at 1-1 at 5:40 on a 60-yard penalty conversion. Caset scored the final goal of the chukker on a pass from teammate Santi Torres and Valiente ended the first chukker ahead of Alegria, 2-1. Zavaleta tied it up, 2-2, on a goal from the field midway through the second. Caset gave the lead back to Valiente on a well-executed nearside neck-shot, 3-2, to end the chukker. Valiente took control of the game in the third with Caset converting a penalty shot a minute into the game for a 4-2 advantage. Julian Mannix cut the lead back to a single goal with his first goal of the game, 4-3. Caset added two more penalty conversions and Adolfo got on the scoreboard as Valiente rode off the field at the end of the first half, 7-3.

Mariano Aguerre scored two goals in the opening two minutes of the fourth period, 7-5, but Valiente responded in kind. Caset scored one goal from the field at 3:43 and converted a short penalty shot with just 22 seconds on the clock for a 9-5 lead. Alegria staged a one-man rally in the fifth with Hilario Ulloa scoring four consecutive goals (three on penalty shots) to tie it up at 9-9. Valiente was unable to break through the Alegria defense as they watched their four goal lead evaporate. The two teams were all even going into the final chukker in regulation play. Alegria got to work right away, with Aguerre receiving a pass from Ulloa and sending a backhander through the goalposts for Alegria’s first lead of the game, 10-9. Caset tied it up on a 60-yard penalty shot just a minute later, 10-10. Another penalty goal from Caset at 2:34 was all Valiente needed as they held on to register the 11-10 win.

Caset provided almost all of the Valiente offense, scoring seven of his ten goals on penalty conversions. Cambiaso added the only other goal in the game for the Valiente team. Ulloa scored four times for Alegria (three on penalty shots). Aguerre added three goals and Mannix scored once in a losing effort.

Caset was aptly named MVP while Bob Jornayvaz’s Pipi (played by Sapo Caset) was named Best Playing Pony.