The Copa Cámara de Diputados, the most important tournament of the Argentine high-goal season after the Triple Crown kicked off November 10. Divided into four zones, 16 teams are taking part with the leader of each zone advancing into the semifinals. Five American players (Jared Zenni*, Jesse Bray*, Felipe Viana*, Constancio ‘Costi’ Caset*, Mariano “Pike” Gonzalez Jr.) are taking part in the competition.
Zenni, Bray and Viana faced off in their first match of the tournament. In a very tight game that came down to the wire, Nuestra Tierra (Alejandro Muzzio, Juan Jauretche, Santiago Laborde, Jared Zenni) defeated San Diego (Felipe Martínez Ferrario, Felipe Marquez, Felipe Viana, Jesse Bray) 14-13.
It was a very tight match that changed leads several times throughout. San Diego finished the first chukker ahead 2-1 but Nuestra Tierra led 9-8 by the end of the fourth chukker. San Diego took the lead once more and entered the seventh chukker ahead 13-12 until Nuestra Tierra pushed back with two uncontested goals to secure the 14-13 victory. San Diego would lose another close game, 11-9 against La Esquina to end their tournament.
In a second match featuring teams with American players, it was Peke Gonzalez’s La Aguada (Peke Gonzalez, Manuel Elizalde, Miguel Novillo Astrada, Tomas Beresford), that were victorious against La Cañada (Facundo Obregon, Costi Caset, Mariano Obregon, Facundo Cruz Llosa), claiming the 15-11 win. While La Cañada lost their second contest to Los Machitos (Victorino Ruiz Jorba, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Mariano Aguerre, Martin Aguerre), La Aguada were one win away from a place in the semifinal, but lost a hard-fought match 10-9 against the same Los Machitos squad to fall a goal short.
Nuestra Tierra’s Jared Zenni hitting a backshot against La Fija in the Copa Cámara de Diputados semifinal.
Completing an undefeated run through the group stages with further victories against La Hache – Le Fe and La Esquina, Jared Zenni’s Nuestra Tierra qualified for the semifinals, however Zenni’s run in the Copa Cámara de Diputados came to an end this week after a hard-fought 12-7 loss to La Fija (Gringo Colombres, Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario, Ignacio Negri, Felipe Vercellino). Taking the lead early during the first chukker, La Fija entered halftime leading 8-5. In the second half, La Fija continued to extend their lead and eventually won the game 12-7.
*Peke Gonzalez is an Active Team USPA Member, Jared Zenni, Jesse Bray and Costi Caset are Graduating Team USPA Members and Felipe Viana is a Team USPA Alumnus. 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 ©Justine Jacquemot.