Wellington, FL – March 29, 2021 – The USPA Gold Cup® concluded on Sunday with Scone’s victory over Tonkawa, but the Gauntlet of Polo® carries on as the CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship® kicked off in full force with two games on Monday. Showcasing the elite level of play that the tournament provides, Coca-Cola defeated Park Place 11-10 in overtime, while Cessna captured their first win of the season, defeating Aspen/Dutta Corp 14-6 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
Few games have been decided by smaller margins than the second game of the CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship® between Coca-Cola and Park Place. Shooting nearly identical percentages from the field and penalty line, the only difference proved to be the golden goal by Mackenzie Weisz one minute and 45 seconds into overtime. All eight players found the scoresheet, including four goals from Nico Pieres in his return to play for Coca-Cola, as Coca-Cola emerged as the winner in the hard-fought match.
Trading penalty conversions to start the game, the remainder of the first chukker resulted in the two teams matching each other stride-for-stride, tied at 2-2 after field goals from Gillian Johnston and Matt Coppola. Coca-Cola had their opportunities to take the lead, winning all five throw-ins in the first chukker, but could not utilize the extra possessions against a tough Park Place defense. Ulloa and Coppola played well off each other in the final two chukkers of the first half, combining for four goals, letting Britos lead them to goal with the pass to pull ahead by one, holding a narrow 6-5 lead at halftime.
Making their first run of the game, Coca-Cola came out of the tent playing a complete team game to produce a three-goal chukker, while more importantly keeping Park Place scoreless. Two field goals from Pieres along with one from Johnston highlighted Coca-Cola’s strong chukker, with de Lusarreta and Weisz both collecting assists. As was the case throughout the game, a swift response was seen from their opponent when Park Place scored three goals of their own, led by 10-goaler Ulloa. Scoring two goals, Ulloa also found Andrey Borodin for his first goal, bringing the game even once again. Britos opened the scoring in the sixth chukker as Park Place had their sights set on the victory but inside the final minute, Johnston worked the ball downfield and scored her third goal to send the game into overtime. After a foul call against Park Place gave possession back to Coca-Cola, a long pass downfield from Pieres found Weisz and he was able to hit the ball just inside the post for the game-winning goal and the 11-10 victory.
All four of Coca-Cola‘s players found the scoresheet to contribute to the win. ©Alex Pacheco
The second game saw Cessna face Aspen/Dutta Corp for the second consecutive game and they were able to avenge their loss in the USPA Gold Cup® in a dominant 14-6 win. Seven goals from Mariano Obregon Jr. highlighted a proficient Cessna attack that led from start to finish, shooting above 50% from the field and converting all but one of their six penalty attempts. Colombres was the only scorer for Aspen/Dutta Corp, responsible for all six goals, but their defense could not slow a determined Cessna offense in the defeat.
The tone was set in the opening chukker by Cessna, building a 3-0 lead on goals from Ferrario, Zenni and Obregon Jr. by completing accurate runs to goal. Despite the slow start, Aspen/Dutta Corp stormed back in the second chukker behind the play of Colombres. After adding a goal from the field and penalty line, Colombres lined up a shot from distance with time running out in the chukker and finding the goal to pull his team within one, trailing 4-3. Foul trouble to end the half for Aspen/Dutta Corp pushed the possession back to Cessna and they capitalized with a three-goal chukker, two coming from the penalty line to restore control of the game, holding a four-goal advantage at halftime.
Cessna captured their first win of the season, defeating Aspen/Dutta Corp 14-6. ©Alex Pacheco
Continuing to dominate possession, Cessna quickly added to their lead in the opening minutes of the second half, receiving a field goal and penalty conversion from Obregon Jr. Completing a run of six unanswered goals, Ferrario extended Cessna’s lead to seven as Aspen/Dutta Corp struggled to generate offense from the field, producing just one field goal over the final four chukkers. Colombres continued to battle hard, bringing his goal total to six, but the well-rounded attack of Cessna proved to be too much in the game. Camp Campbell, Zenni, and Obregon Jr. added one more goal each in the sixth chukker to complete the impressive 14-6 victory.
Camp Campbell and Jared Zenni celebrating Cessna‘s victory. ©Alex Pacheco
Polo matches at IPC are not open to the general public except for ticketed Sunday brunch. Online viewing is available with a subscription at globalpolo.com.