GSA Completes Comeback Over Pilot, While Tonkawa, Valiente and Colorado Advance
A full day of polo in the 2018 Ylvisaker Cup saw all four quarter-final matches played with none more exciting than the fourth and final game that saw GSA defeated Pilot 10-9 in the feature game on Field 1 at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
After an impressive final group game performance that saw them score a combined seven goals, the young duo on GSA of Henry Porter and Dylan Rossiter picked up where they left off, scoring one goal each to give GSA the early 2-1 lead. The rest of the first half was all Pilot, as GSA was kept off the scoresheet and Pilot’s dynamic duo of Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres, began to control play, utilizing their two-man possession style of play that gave them the #1 seed in their bracket. Three goals from Facundo Pieres and the pressure he created on the attack, resulted in five fouls for GSA, while Pilot continued to play a clean game, committing zero fouls through the opening three chukkas to take a 5-2 lead into halftime.
After an even 4th chukka that saw Pilot keep their three-goal advantage, the momentum of the game changed as GSA mounted their comeback in the fifth chukka, using effective team play to score from both the field and from the penalty line as their team attack began to but pressure on the Pilot defence. A penalty conversion and field goal for Mariano Gonzalez tied the game at 6-6 until Gonzalito Pieres scored from nearly 8 yards out to end the chukka and give Pilot the slight edge at 7-6 with one chukka remaining. GSA continued to pressure Pilot as the Pieres’ brothers struggled to maintain their possession attack that was successful early in the game. Outshooting Pilot 5-0 from the field in the final chukka, GSA completed their comeback with Gonzalez scoring three goals in the final chukka to send GSA into Wednesday’s semi-finals.
The opponent for GSA was decided in the opening game of the day as Colorado defeated Postage Stamp Farm 13-10 behind the five goal performance from teenager Santino Magrini. Colorado built an early lead by utilizing a series of give and go plays to find open space to attack goal. Meanwhile, Postage Stamp Farm struggled to generate effective scoring chances as they shot just 1 for 5 in the opening half, with Mariano Aguerre and Kris Kampsen being swarmed by the Colorado defence before their attacks could even begin. Holding a three-goal lead at halftime, Colorado was able to maintain that advantage over Postage Stamp Farm throughout the second half as the teams matched each other goal for goal. Despite holding Cavanagh to just three goals in the game, four goals below his tournament average, Postage Stamp Farm couldn’t slow the Colorado attack as Robert Jornayvaz and Santino Magrini continued to find open space downfield, leading Colorado to the 13-10 victory.
The other half of the quarter-finals began with La Indiana vs Tonkawa as a tightly marked game led to foul trouble on both sides. Sapo Caset led all players with eight goals, all of which came from the Penalty 2 or 3 line, where Sapo was 100% for the game. The back and forth game was tied 6-6 at halftime, until Tonkawa used a strong fourth chukka to build a two-goal lead. A field goal from Julian de Lusarreta followed by a penalty conversion from Caset in the sixth chukka gave Tonkawa a 12-9 lead with little time remaining, but La Indiana mounted a comeback with back-to-back field goals from Jeff Hall to bring his team within one goal. La Indiana ran out of time as Tonkawa extended their undefeated run in the 2018 season, reaching the semi-finals to await the winner of SD Farms vs Valiente.
One of the stories of the tournament thus far, SD Farms was unable to continue their run in the tournament, falling to Valiente 13-6, due to constant foul trouble throughout the game. Committing 13 fouls, compared to just 2 for Valiente, SD Farms could not prevent the Valiente passing attack as Adolfo Cambiaso, Santi Torres and Bautista Panelo all scored at least three goals each in the game. Trailing 7-4 at halftime, SD Farms was still within reach of their opponents until the fourth and fifth chukka, where they struggled to get the ball into the attacking half of the field. The Valiente defence, anchored by Cambiaso, jumped on every pass SD Farms hit, turning interceptions into offensive chances of their own. Patron Sayyu Dantata continued to be a strong presence for his team, scoring three goals, but the ability of Cambiaso to run with the ball and hit pinpoint passes to his teammates proved to be too much for SD Farms as Valiente ran away with the convincing 13-6 victory.