The Gulfstream Pacific Coast Open has begun, creating a fiercely competitive atmosphere on the polo field this past weekend. Teams cracked down on their defense, shortened the strings and pushed themselves to their furthest limit in pursuit of the coveted Pacific Coast Open trophy.
The first round of play opened on Sunday, August 14, with three matchups. Teams were divided into two brackets at the onset of the tournament. Each team plays cross bracket with the top four teams advancing to a semi final.
Farmers & Merchants Bank def. FMB Too! 5-4 OT
Reading the score of the match, one would not guess the high caliber of polo displayed by both teams. FMB Too! held the historically high scoring FMB team to only one goal in the first two chukkers and vice versa! With the score tied at 1-1 in the third chukker, Panelo and Criado pushed through a tough defense, each scoring a goal from the field for the FMB team before halftime. The tough defense of FMB Too! remained disciplined holding their opponents scoreless until the sixth chukker. Vercellino and P. de Narvaez gained ground during the fourth and fifth chukker, tying the score 3-3 to start the sixth. Spectators anticipated a scoring frenzy from one of the big sticks on the field, but it never materialized. Each team scored one goal to push them into overtime at 4-4. A penalty two shot by Panelo pushed FMB ahead to win the match 5-4.
RH Polo def. Lucchese 9-5
Costi Caset was rocking and rolling for the RH Polo team in their matchup against Lucchese. Santi von Wernich, Jason Crowder, Costi Caset and Ben Soleimani were firing on all cylinders leading the game the entire match. After falling short in the USPA Nespresso America Cup Final to FMB, the team is eager to assert their dominance
Klentner Ranch def. SD Farms 12-11
Two tough teams collided during the feature 3:00 match. SD farms capitalized on mistakes made by Klentner Ranch and took an early lead 3-1 in the first chukker. Geronimo Obregon answered back, putting three goals on the board to jumpstart the offensive momentum of his team. Klentner Ranch pushed to establish their lead creating a three goal difference in the beginning of the third chukker, but the SD Farms crew brought the game back to within one point at halftime 7-6. Missed opportunities by Klentner Ranch turned into goals for SD Farms, adding goals to their tally. The sixth chukker began with SD Farms leading 10-8 over KR. Polledo scored the first goal of the chukker, putting SD Farms further in the lead 11-8. With limited time on the clock and a four goal deficit to win, Klentner Ranch needed to act fast, and act fast they did. The team brought the score to within one then quickly scored again to tie the match with a little over a minute remaining. A back shot, a quick pass, a missed pass and recovery left F. Obregon with the ball in front of the goal. With :37 seconds remaining, Obregon shot the ball through the uprights giving Klentner Ranch their first win of the tournament, 12-11. When asked how he felt with the time ticking down and a tied score F. Obregon replied, “I had the ball on my mallet and I looked up at the clock seeing we were almost to thirty seconds. I quickly glanced over at the trailer, saw that my paint had wraps on and decided if I didn’t make the goal, that’s who was coming back for overtime. I shot the ball to win.”
Games continue on Friday.