On Friday, October 19, for the second year in a row, Skaneateles and SD Farms met in the National Copper Cup® Final at New Bridge Polo & Country Club in Aiken, South Carolina. An almost identical final to the previous year with the addition of one player—University of South Carolina – Aiken intercollegiate player Jim Deal for SD Farms – the final yielded repeat victor Skaneateles. Despite an earlier loss to their Nigerian-led opponents in bracket play, defending champions Skaneateles showcased grit and perseverance in a closely-contested final, never surrendering the lead to capture their second consecutive Copper Cup win with a narrow one-goal margin 12-11.
“The final was a really intense game with both teams playing hard to win it. I think that they key of the game was to be really focused and concentrated on marking our man and not giving them spaces, which I think we did really well most of the game.” – Costi Caset
Catching SD Farms flat footed, Skaneateles made an incredible offensive drive in the opening chukker with back-to-back field goals from Mariano Obregon, followed by a third from Costi Caset* to set the tone early. Peco Polledo was able to add SD Farms’ first goal to the board in the second, jumpstarting the momentum of teammate Juan Martin Obregon who contributed three more before the end of the half. Skaneateles’ skill from the penalty line and teamwork continued throughout the first half however, maintaining their lead 7-4 at the end of the third.
A strong showing from SD Farms in the fourth brought them within one 7-8. A penalty conversion from Juan Martin Obregon at the start of the fifth, his fourth conversion of the day, equalized the score for the first time. Skaneateles would not be outdone and Mariano Obregon turned on the heat scoring a hat trick to regain the lead. A two-goal differential entering the final chukker, a field goal from Polledo and a penalty conversion from team owner Sayyu Dantata tied the score once again. A battle until the final moment, a score from Mariano Obregon sealed the win for Skaneateles.
Caset who showcased consistent play throughout the tournament received Most Valuable Player. “He manages to frequently make plays that not only allowed him to shine but put his whole team in a position to succeed,” said a Most Valuable Player judge. Best Playing Pony was presented to 8-year old dark bay Argentine mare Sally, owned by Mariano Obregon and played in the first and sixth chukkers. Purchased from Skaneateles team owner Marty Cregg earlier this year, this is her second notable title in 2018, after capturing the prestigious Willis L. Hartman Trophy for Best Playing Pony of the U.S. Open Polo Championship® Final.
“Winning the Copper Cup means a lot to us for its history,” said Caset, “there are a lot of great players who have won it in the past, so being able to win it is an honor. Winning it two years in a row with the same team makes me super happy for Skaneateles. This is a result of all the effort and hard work we have all put into this team. Not only us the players, but also all of the people behind the scenes that work every day for the team and horses,” he continued.
*Costi Caset is a member of Team USPA. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher-rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.
All photos courtesy of ©Katie Roth.