Flashback Friday; Rocking P Lockton and San Saba Set to Face Off Again in U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ Final
This year’s U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ fielded three top-notch teams vying for the nation’s most prestigious and competitive women’s title. Defending champions Rocking P Lockton swiftly secured their final position with newest member Lottie Lamacraft who replaced 2016 captain Sarah Wiseman. San Saba having recruited Wiseman and Lia Salvo as well as 14-year-old Hope Arellano edged out Team USPA in the third round of tournament play, promising a rematch of last year’s final.
Rocking P Lockton Dominates Catching San Saba Flat-Footed
The opening game of the tournament held at ERG in Brookshire, Texas, a rematch of last year’s final, proved to be a runaway for Rocking P Lockton. Four unanswered goals in the first chukker, including three penalty conversions, gave Rocking P Lockton a solid start to the tournament. San Saba steadied themselves in the second, trading goals with Rocking P Lockton, to end the first half trailing 6-2.
“I am super excited to play against San Saba in the final. I know that they will come back harder and faster, but we are getting fully prepared to take them on. I think it is going to be a great final to both play and watch.” –Hazel Jackson
As play progressed San Saba continued to develop their teamwork, outscoring Rocking P Lockton in the third, chipping away at their first chukker deficit. Excellent play from both teams in the fourth, contributed a single goal for each to the final tally, landing Rocking P Lockton in the winner’s circle with a final score 8-5.
Team USPA Debut Leaves Room for Improvement
Spectators packed the sidelines of the gorgeous Pecan Acres field in Simonton, Texas, to witness the second match of the tournament between seasoned powerhouse Rocking P Lockton and newcomers Team USPA. On the heels of a great first victory, Rocking P Lockton did not disappoint, shutting out Team USPA in chukker one. Despite Team USPA’s best efforts, working hard to slow down the game and contain their opponents, Rocking P Lockton continued their onslaught of goals into the second. Julia Smith, capitalizing on a broken knock-in, scored the first goal for Team USPA to end the first half 5-1.
The third chukker proved much like the first, Rocking P Lockton widening their lead to six, 7-1. Overzealous in their defensive tactics in the final period, Team USPA capitalized on two Penalty
2 conversions, but it was too little too late as Rocking P Lockton secured their second win and an automatic spot in the final with a resounding 9-3 score.
“I think Team USPA did a great job. They were a 21-goal team going into a 26-goal tournament, playing against women that are the best in the business. Obviously we wanted to win the tournament, but more importantly we wanted everyone to learn and to grow from this, and to improve and really show that you can put a team of four Team USPA women of the same handicap in a tournament like this and that they can compete and hold their own. I think they did that, they improved vastly from the first game to the second game. It takes time, sometimes it takes teams an entire season to gel and we are trying to do it after one practice and two games.” – Team USPA coach Mason Wroe
San Saba Gains Momentum and Overtakes Team USPA
Following disappointing first matches, both San Saba and Team USPA approached the third round of play with a vengeance, each determined for redemption and a second chance to play Rocking P Lockton. San Saba drew first blood, but Team USPA came out firing on all cylinders, Coach Mason Wroe rallying the team. Despite two unexpected dismounts, the unstoppable Tiamo Hudspeth put the first goal on the board for Team USPA. Smith followed up shortly after with a Penalty 3 conversion to take the lead 2-1 at the end of the first.
“[Minnie] She’s tiny, and it is interesting, I kind of equate or parallel her to my Ducati 911 Panigale R—I love to race motorcycles, it’s fun to do—and she’s very similar. I never really thought about the geometry of that bike, but it’s interesting, I lower the bike about an inch and a half and it complexly changed the speed and maneuverability. The thing about Mini, to me, even though she is tiny, she just has this perfect geometry, she’s small, she’s a mini me, but she is super fast, she has a big heart. Aside from that, I really think it is her confirmation, it is this perfect geometry for running, she has figured out how to run and she loves it.” – Dawn Jones
A panel of coaches on the sidelines (Luis Echezarreta, Julio Arellano and Tommy Lee Jones), San Saba took control of the game in the second and third, holding Team USPA at bay. Trailing by three entering the final chukker, 5-2, a valiant Team USPA left everything on the field, adding another goal from Smith to close the gap to two. But, a final goal from San Saba’s Arellano, would put the final nail in the coffin for Team USPA as San Saba doubled up their lead and walked away with the win 6-3.
“We are excited for the final. The other day we were a little bit nervous, we didn’t really know each other, and had never played together before, I had never ridden the horses—so we were testing each other out. We started very badly and gave away too many fouls. Rocking P Lockton is a really strong team, I had the privilege of playing with their operation here last year. They are super organized, and I know that Roberto [Gonzalez] is a very good coach and that he will be motivating them. Today, I thought we played better, we know the horses better, and we know each other as a team better—so we are just going to go out there and focus and play together as a team and hopefully that will be enough.” –Sarah Wiseman
“I think Wisey [Sarah Wiseman] has a few different horses than the first game, so it is good that we were able to watch them again in their game today. I think they are figuring out their flow as a team a bit more now. We have a strategy in mind and it is good that both of us have had an extra game since we played each other. I think it will be a different story, the field will be different and we have to take in all aspects, but for sure it will be close.” – Hazel Jackson
The pinnacle of women’s outdoor polo, the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ will culminate in the final on Sunday, November 12, at 3:30pm ET at the Houston Polo Club’s Farish Field. Local spectators are encouraged to attend the final match or catch the action live on the USPA Polo Network at uspolo.org. For information on tickets please visit www.houstonpoloclub.com.