After opening losses in the 2018 Colorado Open presented by J5 Equestrian, both Colorado and Hawaii Polo Life were searching for their first wins Saturday in a game that flipped on its head in the final chukker. Hawaii Polo Life made an astounding comeback to win 12-10 and will play Scone Polo on Wednesday for a spot in the final against Valiente.
Controlling the majority of their round 2 game with accurate shooting and an effective defense that kept Hawaii in check, Colorado held a 10-7 lead into the final chukker—only to watch Hawaii display a dominant 5-0 performance to claim the victory. With all five goals coming from the field, Diego Cavanagh led the way with three, while Colorado (a finalist last year) was left stunned, recording zero shots as their lead disintegrated.
The running game saw just 11 combined fouls from the two teams, with the ball moving quickly in the middle of the field. The balance of the Colorado offense was seen in a strong second chukker, with each player scoring one goal to give Colorado the early 5-2 lead. Hawaii responded with a strong third chukker to reduce the deficit to one but were never able to get closer in the fourth and fifth.
MVP Cavanagh led the way for Hawaii with a game-high seven goals, five of which came in a titanium second half that saw him execute from both the field and the penalty line for the more aggressive Hawaii attack. After recording zero field goals in the fourth and fifth chukkers, an eleventh-hour adjustment from Hawaii (trusting Tommy Collingwood to manage the back) allowed Cavanagh to move up in the attack. Hawaii shot 5-for-6 from the field in the final chukker.
“We went into the last chukker with nothing to lose. We all went in attack position, and when we had the opportunities we scored,” said Cavanagh.
The other key to Hawaii’s late comeback was their performance from set plays, with three of their final five goals coming from a throw-in and two penalty 5s. None were more impressive than Cavanagh receiving the ball after it went over the sideboards, to weave through the entire Colorado defense and finish with a nice touch around goal. That made for Hawaii’s eleventh goal and gave them lead, securing their comeback. Hawaii added another goal to clinch a 12-10 victory.
Complete videos of all Colorado Open games: polochannel.com