La Monarquia Wins The Polo School Women’s Polo League March Final; Marisa Bianchi MVP

La Monarquia won The Polo School Women’s Polo League March Final Wednesday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.

By Sharon Robb

Photos by Candace Ferreira

La Monarquia (Alina Carta/Becky Schmeits, 1, Megan Manubay, 1, Ava Rose Hinkson, 3, Malicia von Falkenhausen, 3) defeated Santa Aurelia/Spencer Ranch (Rachael Spencer, 0, Mary Wright, 1, Tiffany Armstrong, 1+, Marisa Bianchi, 4), 5-2.

Bianchi, a four-time national champion at Cornell and former PTF Female Intercollegiate Player of the Year, was named Most Valuable Player for the second time this season. Best Playing Pony was 7-year-old mare Javelin, owned and played by Hinkson in the third chukker. Javelin has been in her string for seven years, the longest of any of her horses.

“She is a firecracker,” Hinkson said. “She is very quirky. She has a lot of personality. That really carries over on the field. She is a machine. She’s got a lot of speed which is probably my favorite thing about her. She is explosive. I love that horse. She is the best and I am so happy she got Best Playing Pony.”

La Monarquia dominated the game, shutting out Santa Aurelia/Spencer Ranch in the second half. Hinkson led scoring with three goals, including two 30-yard penalty conversions. Manubay added two goals. Bianchi scored both goals for Santa Aurelia/Spencer Ranch.

Santa Aurelia/Spencer Ranch jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on Bianchi’s goal with 5:20 left. Two minutes later, Hinkson converted a 30-yard penalty shot to tie the game. A minute later, Hinkson converted another 30-yard penalty shot for a 2-1 lead. La Monarquia never relinquished the lead after that, pulling away 3-1 late in the second chukker.

Santa Aurelia/Spencer Ranch had its share of scoring opportunities but could not take advantage, trailing 3-2 at the half. La Monarquia’s strong defensive effort and chemistry played a role in its win.

“I love this team,” Hinkson said. “I love playing with Malicia, she is one of my favorite people to play with. Megan is on fire. She played amazing today. It was super fun to play with Rebecca. Of course, Alina, that one chukker. It was amazing to have such a legend on the field. I thought she played really well. She is a little machine.”

Hinkson has bounced back from being sick early in the season to playing well above her rating these past few weeks.

“I am happy with how I am playing,” she said. “There is a lot I need to improve and that will come. I’m mastering the things that I was really struggling with. I am happy with how I’m progressing. I’m happy with where I’m at. The horses are feeling good. I want to keep looking forward and keep pushing myself.”  

The end-of-the-month final is the league’s monthly awards game where MVPs and BPPs are selected and where players exchange gifts.

The nation’s oldest weekly women’s polo league features players of all ages and skill level. The league was created by Alina Carta, a polo pioneer and one of the highest ranked women in the U.S. in the 1980s, and Melissa Ganzi, Grand Champions Polo Club President, World Polo League co-founder and avid player.

The eight-year-old women’s league is held every Wednesday through mid-April and live streamed by ChukkerTV.

All team entry fees from the weekly league benefit The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned club. The Polo School offers lessons to men, women and children of all ages and ability levels.

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