To kick off the 2021 U.S. Open Women’s Handicap® at Houston Polo Club in Houston, Texas, Villa Ecleto (Morgan Tennant, Alyson Poor, Audry Persano*, Katie George) met The Macallan (Kelly Coldiron, Roxy Kefauver, Kerstie Allen, Megan Judge) in the first two chukkers of the round robin format. Villa Ecleto’s Poor was a driving force for her team scoring three out of Villa Ecleto’s four goals, with the fourth added by teammate Tennant. The Macallan’s Judge converted an open goal penalty and made a great additional goal out of the throw in. Despite the late efforts of The Macallan, Villa Ecleto took home the win 4-2.5.
In the second two chukkers of the first game, The Macallan’s Judge was the sole scorer for her team, converting an open goal penalty and finding her second goal with only a minute-fourty left on the clock. T Squared Energy’s (Emma Tooth, Grace Parker, Carin Middleton, Kaile Roos) Middleton found a backshot pass from teammate Parker to put T Squared Energy’s first goal up on the scoreboard, but with time expiring, The Macallan took the 2-1 victory.
The final two chukkers of the first match were high scoring, showcasing great teamwork by both Villa Ecleto and T Squared Energy. T Squared Energy started with a .5 goal handicap lead, as Villa Ecleto’s Persano and George combined early to take the lead with the first goal from the field. T Squared Energy fought back from the early deficit for a 3.5-2 lead.
As each team held a 1-1 record following the completion of the first round robin, T Squared Energy advanced into the semifinals with the cumulation of 0.5 net goals.
T Squared Energy’s Carin Middleton and The Macallan’s Megan Judge battle for possession. ©Kaylee Wroe
The second match of round robin competition began with Ketel One Botanical’s (Athena Malin, Stephanie Colburn, Tiamo Hudspeth*, Carter Nix) Hudspeth and Colburn scoring a combined four goals early on. Aspen Snowmasses’ (Brandey Heckeroth, Cara Kennedy, KC Krueger, Shelia Lequerica) Krueger quickly answered with two soaring Penalty 3 shots. Ketel One Botanical ultimately ended the two chukkers of play 4-2.
Leading into the next set of chukkers, Aspen Snowmass and Woody’s Furs (Catherine Keen, Karson Bizzel, Tiffany Orthwein, Izzy Parsons) were neck-in- neck, with Krueger and Parsons running at full speed to gain the advantage. Coming down to the wire, the winner was determined by a shootout, as Krueger sunk the winning goal to take the set 3-2.
The final set of the match started out strong with Ketel One Botanical and Woody’s Furs battling for the lead. Hudspeth quickly took control of the game and was able to score three goals to see Ketel One Botanical take the win 4-2.
Finishing with a 2-0 record, Ketel One Botanical was the second team of the day to advance into the semifinals.
Ketel One Botanical’s Stephanie Colburn creates space in the field. ©Kaylee Wroe
Looking to come out strong, Midstateroofing.com (Reagan Leitner, Robyn Leitner, Summer Kneece, Madison Jordan) won the first set of the third match of the day against Quiet Creek Farm (Hannah Reynolds, Olivia Reynolds, Lily Lequerica, Josie Dorsey) 4-2.
The second set proved to be just as tough as Quiet Creek Farm’s Hannah Reynolds led the team to victory against Chandler Ranch (Roxy Mounter, Karen Reese, Megan Flynn, Jenny Vargas, Tess Pimsner**) 4-0.
The last set of the final round robin matchup showcased the talents of Midstateroofing.com’s Leitner twins and Kneece against Chandler Ranch’s seasoned pro, Reese. Ultimately Midstateroofing.com emerged victorious 3-1.
Sweeping the competition with a 2-0 record, Midstateroofing successfully booked their ticket into the semifinals.
Midstateroofing.com’s Reagan Leiter turns towards the soaring ball. ©David Murrell
The match between Whitehall Ranch (Allie Azzaro, Michelle Agrons, Erica Gandomcar-Sachs, Chole Torres) and QR Jets (Stephanie Lueders, Isabel Artzer, Grace Mudra, Sarah Wiseman) proved to be an exciting one as Whitehall Ranch started with a two goal advantage on handicap. Not to hinder the spirits of QR Jets, they quickly tied the game 2-all at the end of the first half with goals from Mudra and Wiseman. Ultimately it was Whitehall Ranch’s Gandomcar-Sachs who rallied her team in the second half to pull off the 7-4 win and final spot in the semifinals.
Ketel One Botanical’s Tiamo Hudspeth with a hook on Woody’s Furs Karson Bizzell. ©David Murrell
The semifinal matches for November 12 are as follows:
Whitehall Ranch vs T Squared Energy (11:00am ET/ 10:00am CT)
Ketel One Botanical vs Midstateroofing.com (12:00pm ET/ 11:00am CT)
The U.S. Open Women’s Handicap® semifinals will be livestreamed on Global Polo TV.
*Audry Persano and Tiamo Hudspeth are Team USPA alumnae. 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.
**Tess Pimsner substituted for Chandler Ranch following an injury to Jenny Vargas.
HOUSTON POLO CLUB