Preventing the three members of the 2019 winning Orchard Hill team from reaching the final, Faraway led the field of five 3-1 with WM Polo (Jackson Woodward, Lucas Tarditto, Juan Cruz Valerdi, Felipe Viana*) winning the shootout to join them in the Kentucky Cup Final on Wednesday, September 30. Establishing an immediate advantage with a pivotal opening chukker, Faraway (Hutton Goodman, Lucas Criado Jr., Julian Daniels, Kris Kampsen) was able to maintain distance on the scoreboard with powerful offensive strikes, claiming the trophy 11-7 at Mt. Brilliant Polo LLC in Lexington, Kentucky.
“We have really great chemistry and know each others’ strengths and weaknesses. Our team relied on using all four players and we each had a specific role to play. For Faraway, that translated to a winning season with teamwork at the core of our success.” – Kris Kampsen
Faraway’s Hutton Goodman leads the field on a breakaway.
Opening the first in the best way possible, Daniels and Kampsen worked together to score four consecutive goals, sending a strong statement to WM Polo. “We were very confident in our team and our plan was to play simple polo and trust one another,” Daniels said. Lucas Tarditto found the scoreboard with a penalty conversion, but the remainder of the game would prove an uphill battle. Scoring first again in the second, Daniels was countered by two successful shots, the first WM Polo field goal off the mallet of Valerdi to end the chukker 5-3 in favor of Faraway. Heading towards halftime, Faraway was poised to take control of the game and tripled their lead with four stellar field goals. Unable to find the momentum to hit their target, WM Polo went scoreless for the remainder of the first half and the score stood 9-3 at halftime.
Faraway’s Lucas Criado Jr. prepares for a deep neckshot, WM Polo’s Felipe Viana prepares to intercept.
Strategizing to make an impact in the fourth, WM Polo started off play strong with a couple of goals, relying heavily on their ability to convert penalties. Single-handedly scoring for Faraway in the second half, Daniels launched his fifth and sixth goals by the end of the fifth chukker to maintain a commanding lead 11-5. Silenced for the second time in the fifth, WM Polo slowly began the push to chip away at the deficit with a sixth-chukker goal from Valerdi. Delivering his third penalty conversion, Tarditto followed suit but the late effort was not enough to overcome the gap. Faraway was named 2020 Kentucky Cup champions with a final score of 11-7.
WM Polo’s Juan Valerdi sends a powerful shot upfield.
“Hutton [Goodman], Kris [Kampsen] and I have played a lot together in the past and Lucitas [Criado] was a great addition,” Daniels said. “He is a young player with a very bright future!” “All three of my teammates were amazing and really fun to play with,” Criado echoed. “Julian [Daniels] was the brain of our team because he was always thinking of ways to make us better and Hutton [Goodman] always calms us down.”
Faraway’s Lucitas Criado was named Most Valuable Player. “When we had the ball we hit it forward and didn’t tap it so we started to have a rhythm on the field,” Criado revealed. “What we did best was put pressure on the other team and we didn’t get nervous when plays didn’t go as planned. We remained calm and tried to play simple throughout the final.”
Most Valuable Player Lucas Criado Jr. makes an explosive move forward on the ball.
Best Playing Pony honors were presented to 6-year-old Nova, played by Julian Daniels in the fourth chukker. “I made her myself,” Daniels said. “She has all the attributes to be a very nice polo horse including speed, balance and a great mouth.”
2020 Kentucky Cup BPP Nova played by Julian Daniels presented by Kim Rosenstein pictured with Guillermo Giangrieco Mathea Kelley web
*Felipe Viana is a Team USPA alumni. 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 ©Mathea Kelley.