Following a postponement between Grand Champions Polo Club and La Elina due to weather, the feature game of the week in the U.S. Open Polo Championship® showcased La Fe battling Tamera at International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) on U.S. Polo Assn Field 1. With each team entering the match carrying a 1-0 record, Tamera built an early lead with the assistance of nine goals from Diego Cavanagh, holding off a tenacious La Fe and Francisco Elizalde in the second half to claim the 15-11 victory.
Initiating the scoring for La Fe, team captain and leading scorer Elizalde got his team on the scoreboard first. After the quick start, La Fe surrendered an early Penalty 2 to 9-goaler Diego Cavanagh as Tamera took advantage of their early success from the line into the field for a stretch of back-to-back goals from Segundo Saravi and Cavanagh. Returning to the penalty line, Elizalde and Cavanagh exchanged penalty conversions allowing Tamera to grasp an early 4-2 lead. Following two consecutive goals from Cavanagh and Alejandro Poma, Elizalde answered once again for La Fe with two additional goals of his own to keep La Fe’s deficit to within two. Taking advantage of La Fe’s foul troubles, Tamera ignited their offensive with run of five unanswered goals, including three from the penalty line and a drawn Penalty 1. Trailing by seven goals, Elizalde hit the posts once more to account for his fifth goal of the half, as La Fe entered the break down 11-5.
Utilizing Elizalde’s late third chukker goal as motivation, La Fe finally managed to create space in the field and help circulate the ball to their captain, as Elizalde went on an incredible offensive streak to singlehandedly score four goals, including three penalty conversions. Holding on to a narrow two-goal lead, Cavanagh finally answered for Tamera on back-to-back goals to halt La Fe’s attempted comeback. Accounting for all La Fe’s offense and scoring nine goals, Elizalde’s phenomenal day was unfortunately cut short. Forced to leave the match due to reoccurring injuries, Elizalde was replaced by 7-goaler Jorge “Tolito” Fernandez Ocampo Jr., while teammate Louis Devaleix was also substituted by Agustin “Baldo” Palomeque to aid in their handicap differential. With La Fe adjusting to their unexpected new lineup, Tamara’s Magoo Laprida and Cavanagh struck from the field once again to increase their lead back to six goals. Making an impression in their GAUNLET debuts, both Palomeque and Ocampo Jr. managed to get onto the scoreboard in the final chukker, but despite La Fe’s second half efforts, Tamera’s strong lead from the start of the match delivered them the decisive 15-11 victory.
Contributing for Tamera on both sides of the ball, including a goal in the second chukker, Alejandro Poma was awarded Most Valuable player, while Diego Cavanagh’s “Dolfina Lan” was named Best Playing Pony.
The U.S. Open Polo Championship® continues at IPC on April 4, in a tripleheader with Santa Rita taking on Scone at 11:00am ET, Grand Champions Polo Club against La Elina at 1:00pm ET, and CK Shack versus Park Place capping off the action at 4:00pm ET.
Photo Credit ©Alex Pacheco