Ylvisaker Cup Final Preview
Wellington, FL – February 6, 2021 – Competing head-to-head since the Bobby Barry Cup opened the season, Beverly Polo and Palm Beach Equine will face each other for a fourth time to determine the 2021 Ylvisaker Cup champion. In their previous three meetings, Palm Beach Equine has won two, including their last game to secure their spot in Sunday’s final. All three games have been decided by two or fewer goals, including one overtime game in the Joe Barry Memorial setting the scene for an exciting final on the Home of the U.S. Polo Assn – Field 1 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
Entering the final as the top-ranked team, Palm Beach Equine started the tournament with an impressive 10-7 victory over Tamera and winning a crucial game against Beverly Polo to claim the #1 seed. Constancio ‘Costi’ Caset has been the driving force for Palm Beach Equine, leading the team in both penalty and field goals, averaging 5.0 goals per game. Finishing effectively in the #1 position, Caset has allowed his teammates to protect against the counterattack, contributing to the top defense in the tournament that is conceding just 8.7 goals per game and is quarterbacked by Scott Swerdlin in the back position. Caset has benefitted from the passing of teammate Gringo Colombres, who has collected six assists and continued to make an impact despite his struggles around goal. Winning two more throw-ins per game than the next closest player, Colombres provides the additional possessions for Palm Beach Equine that have led them into their second final of the season. Quiet earlier in the season, Robi Bilbao found his footing in his last game, producing his best showing of the season with five goals against Beverly Polo. He will aim to repeat that performance in the final.
The previous three games between Beverly Polo and Palm Beach Equine have been decided by two or fewer goals. ©Alex Pacheco
Playing in their third consecutive final, Beverly Polo will hope for a different result to capture their first title of the season. Hilario Figueras has been a standout player in the tournament, scoring 18 goals to trail only 9-goaler Diego Cavanagh. Yet to miss from the penalty line on 10 attempts, Figueras has been a steady presence for Beverly Polo offensively, while still playing a consistent back that has committed just one foul per game. Playing end-to-end polo, Tolito Ocampo is seemingly always on the ball and drawing the attention of opposing players. With an impressive ability to read the game, Ocampo has set up his teammates for a tournament-leading eight assists, while providing a formidable back line with Figueras. Although quiet offensively, both Peke Gonzalez and Bill Ballhaus have created the time and space for Beverly Polo’s attack, keying in on the top players defensively including the likes of Cavanagh and Colombres. Converting 50% of his shots around goal, Gonzalez can still be a factor in Sunday’s final if left unmarked by Palm Beach Equine.
Scoring more than five penalty goals a game, Palm Beach Equine has scored more than half their goals from the penalty line, a stat that Beverly Polo will look to focus on in Sunday’s final and keep the duo of Caset and Colombres off the penalty line. The battle of the two players in the #3 position may be a match-up to watch, as both Colombres and Ocampo are near the top of the assist leaderboard while still being capable of producing offense on individual attacks.