There was plenty of action on the Santa Clara Polo Fields Thursday afternoon with three teams battling for a shot at the Victoria Performance Cup.  Following Wednesday’s narrow 5½-5 win by Ymas (Jocelyne Groulx, Jacobo Bacariza, Luis Escobar and Benji Daniels) over Pony Express (Justin Daniels, Oliver Firestone, Richard Dudman and Juan Salinas) three teams participated in a round-robin competition to determine who would face Ymas in the tournament final.

Santa Clara (Francisco Escobar, Lucas Escobar/Roseanna Elordi, Anja Eckbo and Mariano Obregon) and Forbes Plunkett (Brandon Plunkett, Hillary Blythe, John Gobin and Armando Huerta) played the first two chukkers of the round-robin with Francisco Escobar’s three goals carrying Santa Clara to a 4-1 win.

Brandon Plunkett, captain of the Forbes Plunkett team will be playing Pony Express in Saturday’s consolation match.

Francisco Escobar scored the opening goal of the game countered by a goal from Forbes Plunkett’s Brandon Plunkett to tie it at 1-1.  Lucas Escobar closed out the chukker with a goal from the field for a 2-1 Santa Clara lead.

Two more second period goals from Francisco Escobar went unanswered as the Santa Clara defense held firm.  Santa Clara took the first mini-match of the day with a powerful 4-1 win.

Santa Clarita 3, Forbes Plunkett 2

Forbes Plunkett held the field for the ensuing two periods, and got off to a promising start with Brandon Plunkett scoring the first goal of the contest with Santa Clarita (Kaisser Maakar, Max Torokvei, Magoo Laprida and Alex Silvestre), 1-0.  Both teams battled for control of the ball, but it was Max Torokvei with the only other score of the chukker to deadlock the game at 1-1.

Kaisser Maakar gave Santa Clarita their first lead of the game with the opening goal of the second period, 2-1, but Forbes Plunkett came right back, tying the game at 2-2 on a goal from the field from Hillary Blythe.  With time running down on the game clock, Max Torokvei scored his second goal of the afternoon and the final goal of the match for the narrow 3-2 victory.

Santa Clara 3, Santa Clarita 3

In the final two chukkers of the day, undefeated Santa Clara would be facing undefeated Santa Clarita, with the winner earning a spot in the tournament final.

Santa Clarita scored first with Alex Silvestre scoring the first goal of the game, 1-0.  Mariano Obregon raced down the field to score the tying goal, 1-1.  Max Torokvei gave the lead to Santa Clarita with the closing goal of the chukker.  With just seven minutes left to play, Santa Clara trailed, 2-1.

Santa Clarita’s Max Torokvei scored four goals on the day and help lift his team into Sunday’s round-robin final.

A re-grouped Santa Clara team took control of the game in the opening minutes of the round-robin’s final chukker.  Goals from Roseanna Elordi (replacing Lucas Escobar in the final two chukkers) and Mariano Obregon gave them a fragile one -goal advantage with time running out.  A great individual effort by Max Torokvei scored the tying goal, and leaving the two teams in a 3-3 tie at the end of regulation play.

Tournament play will continue on Saturday, January 21st with a 10am consolation match between Forbes Plunkett and Pony Express (Justin Daniels, Oliver Firestone, Richard Dudman and Juan Salinas)

An exhibition 12-goal game will take place at 3pm between Skaneateles (Sterling Giannico, Cesar Jimenez, Mariano Obregon and Marty Craig) and Santa Clarita (Geronimo Obregon, Luis Escobar, Santiago Llavallol and Max Torokvei).

On Sunday, January 22nd three teams will participate in a round-robin final that will feature Ymas (Jocelyne Groulx, Jacobo Bacariza, Luis Escobar and Benji Daniels), Santa Clara (Francisco Escobar, Lucas Escobar, Landon Daniels and Mariano Obregon) and Santa Clarita (Kaisser Maakar, Max Torokvei, Magoo Laprida and Alex Silvestre).

The Santa Clara Polo Club is located at 12293 50th Street South, Wellington, FL, 33467. The matches are free of charge and the public is invited to attend.

Alex Webbe

photo: Santa Clara polo team (L to R)-Francisco Escobar, Mariano Obregon, Anja Eckbo and Lucas Escobar.  (Photo by Sandy Pallot Klein)