Wellington, FL – March 3, 2021 – Four teams remained in the semifinals of the 2021 C.V. Whitney Cup® as Coca-Cola, Park Place, La Indiana, and Scone battled for a spot in the final and a chance to claim the $100,000 prize. In the first semifinal, Park Place dominated the middle of the game, going on an 11-1 run against Coca-Cola to cruise to the 13-9 victory. In a match-up between the two undefeated teams in the tournament, Scone handed La Indiana their first loss of the season, capturing the 13-8 victory to meet Park Place in the final.
A well-rounded Park Place performance saw them control possession in open play, outscoring Coca-Cola 10-2 from the field over the first five chukkers while also playing disciplined polo, keeping Coca-Cola off the penalty line. The transition from defense to offense for Park Place, led by a strong passing attack from Hilario Ulloa and Matt Coppola continued to keep Coca-Cola pinned in their own half, while Coca-Cola managed just 20% shooting up until the final chukker in the 13-9 defeat.
A competitive first few minutes saw Nico Pieres and Juan Britos trade early field goals to leave the score tied, until Pieres struck again for Coca-Cola on a Penalty 2 conversion. Both teams had their opportunities to score in the remainder of the first chukker, but the final four shots of the chukker were missed, leaving the score at 2-1 in favor of Coca-Cola. The momentum switched to Park Place due to the play of Ulloa, who scored three consecutive goals for Park Place while a team effort held Coca-Cola off the scoreboard and pressured Nico Pieres on the ball. Building a 4-2 lead, Park Place extended it further to a three-goal advantage before the end of the half as Pieres was the only goal scorer for Coca-Cola, scoring his third. Adding a Penalty 4 conversion along with a field goal from Britos, Park Place held the 6-3 lead at halftime.
Matt Coppola contributed to the victory by leading Park Place‘s defense and scoring three goals. ©Alex Pacheco
Park Place’s defense became a key factor in their dominant stretch to begin the second half, scoring the first six goals to leave Coca-Cola trailing by nine. Coppola was a standout player for Park Place, anchoring the defense while finding his opportunities to come forward, scoring all three goals in the fourth chukker. Held without a field goal for the second consecutive chukker, Coca-Cola ended the 11-1 run on back-to-back Penalty 3 conversions from Pieres, but it still left them facing a seven-goal deficit with one chukker remaining. One goal from each Coca-Cola player in the sixth chukker brought them within four, but Park Place’s impressive performance pushed them into the final, awaiting the winner of the second semifinal.
Two of the top offenses in the tournament in La Indiana and Scone met to decide the final spot in the final in a highly anticipated match that was ultimately controlled by Scone. Holding the strong La Indiana attack to 18% shooting in the second half and 10-goaler Polito Pieres to just two goals, Scone used their trio of Adolfo Cambiaso, Poroto Cambiaso, and Peke Gonzalez in a persistent attack that never let up. Gonzalez finished with a game-high seven goals, on the receiving end of accurate passes from Adolfo Cambiaso, while Scone took advantage of all four opportunities from the penalty line to capture the 13-8 victory.
Scone and La Indiana possess two of the strongest offenses in the tournament. ©Alex Pacheco
Breaking through on the first play of the game, Nico Escobar gave La Indiana the 1-0 lead, but it would ultimately be their only lead of the game as Scone responded with a goal and an assist from Poroto Cambiaso as part of a three-goal first chukker to hold the 3-1 advantage. With Adolfo Cambiaso effectively directing play from the back, Poroto Cambiaso and Gonzalez continued to charge forward, adding another goal each as La Indiana was unable to pull closer, remaining down by two after goals from Escobar and Pieres. Averaging 15.5 goals through their first two games, La Indiana was limited to just four goals in the first half as Scone controlled possession in the attacking half and relied on the offense of Gonzalez, who added his fourth and fifth goals to give Scone the 7-4 lead.
In need of offense, La Indiana produced a determined effort towards Scone’s goal but struggled with inaccurate shooting in the opening stages of the second half, unable to convert any of their six attempts at goal. Slowly extending their lead, Adolfo Cambiaso made a significant impact for Scone by adding two goals in the fourth chukker and headlining a four-goal fifth chukker that proved to be the decisive moment of the game. Gonzalez brought his goal total to seven in one of his best performances of the season, while Scone continued their strong debut in the Gauntlet of Polo®, keeping La Indiana at a distance in the final chukker to remain undefeated with the 13-8 victory.
Scone used their trio of Adolfo Cambiaso (above), Poroto Cambiaso, and Peke Gonzalez to secure the victory over La Indiana. ©Alex Pacheco
Polo matches at IPC are not open to the general public except for ticketed Sunday brunch. Online viewing is available with a subscription at globalpolo.com.