UCLA/Lucchese came home with the Jackson Hole Horse Emporium USPA Regional President’s Cup, pushing Barrossa/STG into an overtime period after six deadlocked chukkers.
Barrossa/STG’s Max Menini got the ball rolling, scoring three times from the field in the first two chukkers of play. His aggressive offensive strategy set the tone for the remainder of the match. A combination of long passes downfield and fast horses kept the pace quick with relatively few fouls.
18-year-old Conrad Kissling scored three times in addition to a 40-yard penalty conversion from Matt Walker, bringing UCLA/Lucchese’s total to four in the first half of play. Francisco Guinazu and John Ziegler each scored from the field in the third chukker for Barrossa/STG, creating a narrow margin just ahead of UCLA/Lucchese 5-4.
Barrossa/STG maintained the one-goal advantage matching Kissling’s penalty conversion with a daring goal by Guinazu from the field in the fourth chukker. Most Valuable Player Agustin Molinas ramped up his offensive effort, scoring back-to-back goals to push UCLA/Lucchese ahead by one. Their lead was short-lived as Menini eased one through the uprights to tie the score once again 7-all. A 30-yard penalty conversion by each team, one by Guinazu and the second by Walker tied up the score for the last time as the bell sounded ending regulation play.
The high energy of the players was evident as the ball was bowled in for the overtime chukker. UCLA/Lucchese secured the ball, but a miscue left its fate up in the air until Kissling once again took control. The 18-year-old rocketed a shot down the field, finding his team captain Molinas who ran the ball through for the golden goal.
Kissling felt the adrenaline pumping on the last pass to Molinas, “it was an incredibly hard-fought match that lasted until the very end. Barrossa/STG gave us an incredibly hard time throughout all seven chukkers, but we focused and tried to stay very disciplined at the end. Fortunately we were able to come out with the win.” Max Menini’s mare Chocolata was awarded Best Playing Pony.
All photos ©David Lominska