Restoration Hardware maintains perfect record winning the Maserati of Santa Barbara USPA America Cup
Iñaki Laprida weaved his way through a scramble of players atop Best Playing Pony “Rama,” threading the ball through the goal for RH’s ninth goal of the match. Laprida’s quick ball work and forceful push forward throughout the game made the difference for RH, defeating Lucchese 10-9 in a final that had players racing until the final bell sounded.
Restoration Hardware solidified their place in the final earlier in the week and avoiding playing a semi-final on Friday. Lucchese edged past Klentner Ranch in the last 10 seconds of their semi-final match on Friday to face Restoration Hardware.
Though the score did not take off until the third and fourth chukkers, play was fast and furious.
A penalty goal from the 30-yard line by Facundo Obregon and a second by Iñaki Laprida left the score even after the first seven minutes and a half minutes of play.
Ben Solemani scored the first goal from the field in the second chukker, jumping on the line of a perfect pass towards goal and escorted it through, 2-1. A final penalty goal in the chukker by Laprida gave RH a two goal advantage over Lucchese, 3-1.
The third chukker began with two penalty shots by Laprida for RH and a third by Facundo Obregon for Lucchese. Geronimo Obregon opened the play picking the ball up at midfield and expertly steered away from his defender to the left of the goal mouth, picked his head up and sliced it through the uprights to put RH’s sixth goal on the board. Carlos “Toly” Ulloa answered back for Lucchese, streaking down the side of field before veering off and running straight through the goal. RH led 6-3 at the halftime mark.
Three penalty goals made by Facundo Obregon in the fourth and fifth chukkers kept Lucchese fighting in the final match of the tournament, but they were met by three goals by Laprida and a fourth by Von Wernich. RH held on to the advantage created before the halftime period leading 8-5 after chukker four and 10-6 after chukker five.
After dominating the middle of the game, RH was held scoreless in the final chukker of play leaving the door open for Lucchese. A goal from the field by Hall and a penalty goal by Facundo Obregon put Lucchese within two goals with a little over a minute and a half remaining. Ulloa pounced on a loose ball and took off towards the Lucchese goal, walking it through with only 37 seconds remaining in the chukker to bring Lucchese within one goal 10-9 as the final bell rung.
MVP Iñaki Laprida led his team with furor throughout all six chukkers scoring seven of the team’s ten goals. Laprida’s stunning grey mare was named Best Playing Pony, appearing in two chukkers. “Rama played amazing for me today in the first and fifth chukker. She is a 10-year old mare that my father bred. My guys Ivan “El Ruso” Fredes and Manual Vidal do a great job with all of the horses here.”
Santi Trotz, a mainstay at the Santa Barbara Polo Club, helped coach the RH team and credits the victory to the players following through with their game strategy of opening up the play and stretching the field.
The final tournament of the summer, the Silver Air Pacific Coast Open begins on Thursday.
Jesse Bray 6
Mariano Obregon 6
Remy Muller 3
Justin Klentner 1
Farmers and Merchant Bank
Danny Walker 2
Lucas Criado 8
Tomas Alberdi* 4
Matt Walker* 2
Carlos Ulloa 3
Facundo Obregon 6
Jeff Hall 7
John Muse A
Ben Soleimani A
Santi Von Wernich 5
Iñaki Laprida 7
Geronimo Obregon 4
Sol de Agosto
Francisco de Narvaez 1
Paco de Narvaez 7
Adam Snow 5
Nico Escobar 3