This Sunday held the sought after 2020 USPA Intra-Circuit final. This tournament holds great importance at the Santa Barbara Polo Club and with the United States Polo Association. The final match was played between Antelope Jr., reigning champions from the Folded Hills Pope Challenge Tournament, and Dundas, who was undefeated in their bracket for this tournament.
Striking from the field to open up the first, Juan Monteverde was quickly countered by a series of three consecutive goals as Dundas fired between the posts. Adding their second tally to the scoreboard, Antelope Jr.’s goal was met once more by back-to-back goals from 7-goaler Santi Torres to close the second chukker 5-2 in favor of Dundas. “Our strategy was simplicity,” Siegel-Magness said. “Our game plan was playing man to man and making sure we each worked together to clear the space to make runs to goal. While defense was our first priority, we then transitioned to a strong offense.” Consistently producing a goal per chukker, Monteverde saw an opportunity to capitalize on a Penalty 2 conversion early in the third. Dundas sprung into action with another offensive attack to increase their growing lead by five and with all team members contributing to the scoreboard by halftime 8-3.
Returning in the second half with a Penalty 4 conversion, Monteverde continued to keep Antelope Jr. in the fight as the only member to score so far. Picking up another three, Dundas maintained their steady upward trajectory with undeniable strategy, concentration and determination. Rising to Antelope Jr.’s aid in the fifth chukker, Felipe Vercellino answered back with two goals, yet Dundas relentlessly added three more to their tally to end the fifth with a significant lead 14-6. Hammering in two final goals to bring his total to eight, Torres created a deficit virtually unconquerable by their opponents at such a late stage in the game. Launching three goals of his own in the final minutes, Monteverde’s effort could not overcome the disparity and Dundas was named 2020 champions winning 16-9.
“I’m extremely grateful to my team,” Siegel-Magness said. “Santi [Torres] was injured early in the season and having him come back so quickly and strong was amazing. Mariano [Fassetta] and I have been playing together for a few years and this win meant so much because he spends so much time working with me on drills and technique. Also, watching my pilot Juan Cruz [Marcos] shine in his first 12-goal tournament and seeing his personal progress was exciting for me.”
Responsible for five of Dundas’ total goals, Juan Cruz Marcos, was named Most Valuable Player. “For me it was a great experience, plus this was my first season in the United States and I‘m very happy to be participating in USPA tournaments,” Marcos said. Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Cypress (River Dance x Magnolia), played by Santi Torres as a spare throughout the game with four appearances and bred and owned by Valiente.
In addition to the trophy, Dundas also received $2,500.00 in prize money from participating in the COVID-19 USPA Polo Tournament Stimulus Package. “I gave the prize money to my team to pass on to the grooms,” Siegel-Magness shared. “Our grooms make all this possible and they deserve to be recognized for a job well done. I appreciate them so much and they work so hard to keep both the players and horses safe!”
About Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club
Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is the premier destination for summer polo. Players and Patrons from all across the globe call Santa Barbara their home for the summer, bringing world class polo to the Southern California coast. No spectators will currently gather for matches due to COVID-19. We are taking all precautions during the 2020 season including weekly testing, face-masks, and social distancing. Please visit the Spectator Information page for more information.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit our website, www.sbpolo.com.
Photos: © David Lominska