Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach.
The third day of match play in the Ylvisaker Cup began on a brisk morning on the Isla Carroll West Field at International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC), in Wellington, Florida, between La Fe (Lucas Escobar*, Robi Bilbao, Francisco Elizalde, Louis Devaleix) and CK Polo (Kristos “Keko” Magrini*, Martin “Facha” Valent, Santino Magrini, Joaquin Panelo). Coming off a strong win against Beverly Polo (Bill Ballhaus, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Jorge “Tolito” Fernandez Ocampo Jr., Hilario Figueras), La Fe continued to find success with early offensive contributions from 9-goaler Francisco Elizalde to claim the narrow 8-7 victory.
In the featured game of the week, Patagones (Benjamin Avendano, Joaquin Avendano, Santiago Wulff, Tomas Garcia del Rio) and Beverly Polo took to the U.S. Polo Assn. Field with Beverly Polo finding redemption against Patagones in overtime on the golden goal from Lucas Diaz Alberdi to claim the 10-9 triumph.
CK Polo’s Santino Magrini led his team with three goals on the day.
Beginning with a strong hit-and-run strategy, La Fe’s Elizalde led the early charge with two goals from the field and another two from the penalty line. Adjusting once more to a new lineup, the return of Valent and Santino Magrini injected yet another fresh look to CK Polo, but they struggled to find chemistry throughout the first half. Following early struggles to find the goal and a dominant shutdown play from La Fe’s Devaleix, Santino Magrini finally broke through for CK Polo’s only goal of the half, facing a 5-1 deficit entering the halftime break.
Finding their rhythm in the third chukker, Santino Magrini continued CK Polo’s comeback push in the fourth, adding another two goals to the scoreboard while holding La Fe scoreless for the second consecutive chukker. Following a twelve-goal performance in his previous game, a well defended Keko Magrini hit CK Polo’s first penalty conversion of the day to fight their way back within one goal.
Unable to score since the second chukker, a dry La Fe offense came to life off the mallet of Escobar, followed by consecutive goals from Bilbao and Elizalde to restore a four-goal advantage.
Attempting to keep CK Polo’s chances alive, Keko Magrini sank his second penalty shot of the day, while teammates Panelo and Valent followed up with field goals of their own. Running out of time, La Fe’s ability to keep goal leader Keko Magrini tied up for the majority of the game saw their early start and accuracy from the field carry them to an 8-7 win.
Beverly Polo’s Jorge “Tolito” Fernandez Ocampo Jr. finished the Ylvisaker Cup with a team leading twelve goals.
Looking for their first win of the tournament, an energized Beverly Polo entered a rematch of the Joe Barry Memorial Final against Patagones by opening the scoring on back-to-back goals to hold a 2-0 lead at the end of the first chukker. Garcia del Rio hit his first goal of the day on a Penalty 2 for Patagones, but an undefended Ballhaus immediately responded, starting a three-goal run for Beverly Polo in the second that extended his team’s lead to four.
Regrouping in the third, Patagones finally found some success from the field, receiving goals from Wulff and Joaquin Avendano to quickly erase the four-goal difference. One final goal from Ballhaus in the latter stages of the third chukker allowed Beverly Polo to cling on to a narrow 6-5 lead at the half.
Finding confidence in their four-goal third chukker, Patagones remained on the offensive attack with Wulff and Garcia del Rio each scoring from the field to take the lead for the first time in the match 7-6. Trading two goals each from the 30-yard line, talented strikers Garcia del Rio and Ocampo Jr. both made their two attempts, with Garcia del Rio remaining flawless on four successful Penalty 2 conversions.
Despite leading Beverly Polo with eight goals in the tournament, a relatively quiet day on the field for Ocampo Jr. saw him come through for this team in the final minutes of regulation, taking the ball to the goal to tie the game 9-all and force an overtime chukker. Despite Patagones beginning overtime with the offensive possession, the speed and agility of Lucas Diaz Alberdi could not be stopped as a driving Alberdi hit the goal to complete Beverly Polo’s redemption in a thrilling 10-9 victory.
Beverly Polo’s Lucas Diaz Alberdi was named Most Valuable Player.
Scoring three goals, including the overtime winner, Lucas Diaz Alberdi was named Most Valuable Player, while Lechiguana (TocoToco x Regalona) a 10-year-old Argentine mare played and owned by Tomas Garcia del Rio, was named Best Playing Pony.
The highly anticipated Ylvisaker Cup Final on February 6, at 3:00pm ET will feature a rematch between La Fe and CK Polo on the U.S. Polo Assn. Field.
*Lucas Escobar and Kristos ‘Keko’ Magrini are Active Team USPA Members. 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.