The 18-goal Ylvisaker Cup, played annually as a tribute to William T. “Bill” Ylvisaker, kicked off Sunday at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC), with Beverly Polo winning the season opener on Field 4. Hilario Figueras led the way with six goals to help Beverly Polo survive a last-minute push from Aspen and secure the 11-10 victory.
Finding themselves in another one-goal game, their fourth in five games to start the season, Beverly Polo took advantage of their two goals on handicap to narrowly edge Aspen. Penalty shooting proved to be a factor with Figueras shooting a perfect 4 for 4 from the penalty line, while also working effectively in open play to convert both chances from the field. In their first game of the 2021 season, Aspen was led by Keko Magrini, fresh off his Most Valuable Player award and Joe Barry Memorial title with Santa Clara. Scoring five goals, Magrini produced a strong performance at the front of the game, leading a late charge into the final minute, but Beverly Polo managed to hold strong with time ticking, preventing Aspen from scoring the tying goal to claim the one-goal victory.
In the early stages of the game, Aspen found themselves in foul trouble committing two fouls that resulted in penalty goals for Figueras. Despite responding with two goals of their own, Aspen trailed 4-2 lead with Beverly Polo maintaining their two-goal advantage on handicap. Converting just one of their final six shots of the first half, Aspen was unable to keep pace with Beverly Polo, who received one goal each from Hilario Figueras and Tolito Ocampo to extend their lead to three. Figueras continued his penalty shooting into the end of the half, adding another penalty goal and field goal to give Beverly Polo the 8-4 lead at halftime.
Entering the second half, Beverly Polo utilized an effective team performance on both sides of the ball, with their organized defense keeping Aspen from producing any runs to goal and maintaining the four-goal advantage. Aspen completely overturned the game in a dominant fifth chukker, keeping Beverly Polo pinned in their own half. Magrini’s second goal of the chukker, a Penalty 1 ignited a stretch of three unanswered goals for Aspen, seeing three different players score, including one each from Lucas James and Stewart Armstrong to pull within one. Figueras capped off a strong performance with his fifth goal for Beverly Polo, leaving them ahead with time running out. As the clock ticked down into the final seconds, Aspen charged toward goal, but Magrini was unable to convert on the final play, leaving Beverly Polo to claim the hard-fought 11-10 victory.
Beverly Polo will play against Tamera on Thursday at 3:00 pm, while Aspen will meet Palm Beach Equine in the feature match of the week on Sunday.