Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach.
The semifinals are set in the first leg of the 2022 GAUNTLET OF POLO® at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida, with nine teams narrowed down to four, competing for a place in the C.V. Whitney Cup® final.
Included in the remaining four teams are defending champions Park Place (Josh Hyde, Juan Britos, Hilario Ulloa, Cody Ellis*), last year’s finalist Scone (Miki Astrada, Kristos “Keko” Magrini*, Poroto Cambiaso, Adolfo Cambiaso), 2019 champions Pilot (Curtis Pilot, Mackenzie Weisz, Matias Torres Zavaleta, Facundo Pieres) and newcomer Dutta Corp/Show+ (Timmy Dutta*, Joaquin Avendano, Tomas Garcia del Rio, Ignacio “Inaki” Laprida). The four quarterfinals showcased the might of each team, charging into the semifinals with convincing victories that separated them from the rest of the field. After a draw determined the matchups, two rematches are set for Wednesday, February 23, beginning with Park Place against Pilot in what was arguably the game of the tournament thus far.
PARK PLACE VS. PILOT
Park Place – Josh Hyde, Juan Britos, Hilario Ulloa, Cody Ellis.
Producing the highest scoring match of the season, Park Place and Pilot provided an electrifying match in Bracket I that was ultimately won 15-14 in overtime by Pilot on a dramatic second half comeback. However, Park Place led throughout much of the game and will fight for a return to the finals with the tournament’s best offense, averaging an astounding 14.0 goals per game. Ulloa and Britos rank first and second respectively in field goals scored, resulting in a dynamic two-man attack that has proved to be difficult to slow for defending players, as Park Place continues to convert around goal as the only team shooting above 50%. Showcasing an ability to simply outscore their opponent, Park Place’s Achilles heel has been their foul trouble, committing the most fouls of any team at 13.0 per game, a contentious point when considering Pilot’s penalty shooting proficiency.
Pilot – Curtis Pilot, Mackenzie Weisz, Matias Torres Zavaleta, Facundo Pieres.
One of two undefeated teams remaining, Pilot has been guided by 10-goaler Pieres and his pinpoint accuracy from the penalty line, where he averages 5.7 penalty goals per game on 85% shooting. A knack for drawing fouls, Pilot has combined their penalty prowess with accurate shooting from the field, ranking third in accuracy to produce the second-best offense behind Park Place. With a possession-focused attack, Pilot has excelled from the throw-in and utilized their trio of Pieres, Weisz and Zavaleta to finish individual runs to goal. Curtis Pilot’s crucial foul drawn in the overtime chukker secured the possession that resulted in the game-winning goal for Pieres against Park Place, with another close match expected to determine the first finalist in the C.V. Whitney Cup®.
SCONE VS. DUTTA CORP/SHOW+
Scone – Adolfo Cambiaso, Poroto Cambiaso, Kristos “Keko” Magrini, Miki Astrada.
Joining Pilot as the other undefeated team, Scone is determined to claim the C.V. Whitney Cup®, the one trophy that evaded them in 2021. With a margin of victory averaging six goals, Scone has captured dominant nine-goal and eight-goal victories, with the latter against Dutta Corp/Show+ in the opening game of the tournament. Continuing his exceptional play from the 18-goal season, Magrini has fit seamlessly into the Scone line-up, tied for third among all players in goals with 20, while converting 13 of his 14 penalty attempts. Father-son duo Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso have effectively directed play to help Scone collect the most assists of any team with a passing attack to goal that leaves defending teams pinned in their own half. Committing 19 fouls while receiving 32, Scone makes the most of their extra possessions as they are one step away from returning to the final.
Dutta Corp-Show+ – Timmy Dutta, Joaquin Avendano, Tomas Garcia del Rio, Ignacio “Inaki” Laprida.
After their opening game loss to Scone, Dutta Corp/Show+ reorganized and captured an overtime victory against La Fe, followed by a decisive five-goal win against SD Farms during the feature game of the week on Sunday, March 20, at IPC. Leading the team with 15 goals, Garcia del Rio has been effective from the penalty line, averaging 3.7 penalty goals per game on 79% shooting, but teammate Laprida has been the offensive cog from the field. Laprida ranks second in throw-in wins, giving him the extra possessions that also places him second in assists. However, he also leads his team in field goals with eight on accurate 62% shooting. Featuring a line-up with all players 3-goals or more, Dutta Corp/Show+ has received contributions from all four members with young Dutta and Avendano combining for 3.0 goals per game.
Watch the much-anticipated semifinals at IPC on Global Polo TV Wednesday, February 23 at 11:00am ET with Park Place against Pilot, followed by Scone against Dutta Corp/Show+ at 3:00pm ET.
*Kristos ‘Keko’ Magrini and Timmy Dutta are Active Team USPA Members. Cody Ellis is a Graduating Team USPA Member. 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 ©David Lominska.