Orchard Hill took a tight 9-8 victory over Valiente II in Sunday’s featured match on Engel & Völkers field at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). In two other Ylvisaker Cup games, Mt. Brilliant defeated Goose Creek 9-8, and Valiente I claimed a 10-9 win over Grand Champions/Casablanca.
The matchup of the two undefeated teams in brackets 1 and 2—Orchard Hill and Valiente II—was a very close affair throughout. Neither team ever led by more than two goals. Orchard Hill got off to an early 2-0 lead after two goals from Lucas Criado, who opened up the scoring by finishing off a run with a nice neck shot from distance. Valiente II answered back, with Diego Cavanagh converting a penalty 4 to get his team back within one goal at the end of the first chukker.
Two more penalty goals from Cavanagh, this time from the 40- and 30-yard lines, along with a nice goal from a throw-in by Joaquin Panelo, gave Valiente II a three-goal chukker. It allowed them to take the lead for the first time in a back-and-forth game. Both teams’ defense created a very tight, physical game where every receiver seemed to be covered and top players for each team were held in check. Facundo Pieres converted his only penalty attempt on the day in the third chukker, but his Orchard Hill team trailed at the half 5-4.
The teams matched each other stride-for-stride in the fourth chukker. The game began to open up in the fifth, and Orchard Hill took full advantage. Criado finished off his third goal of the game, while 1-goaler Nico Escobar (16 years old) finished off a nice pass from Pieres for his first goal of the day. Valiente II was scoreless in the fifth chukker, allowing Orchard Hill to take the lead.
Escobar wasn’t finished there, as he took a throw-in only 10 yards from his own goal and ran it all the way down the field for a goal (his third in a row). Valiente II made a late push, but after the final goal from Escobar, Orchard Hill never looked back. They held on for a close 9-8 victory with Pieres, Criado and Escobar contributing three goals each for a balanced Orchard Hill attack that sent them to the quarterfinals with a 3-0 record.
Duillio Diaz played in place of Orchard Hill patron Steve Van Andel, and Todd Thurston subbed for Robert Jornayvaz.
Facundo Pieres was chosen as MVP. “Pipa,” played by Lucas Criado, took Best Playing Pony honors.
Valiente I Takes Grand Champions/Casablanca
Grant Ganzi, Felipe Viana
In a very important game, both teams were looking for the win to secure a place in the quarterfinals and avoid a potential shootout for the final spot. Grand Champions/Casablanca scored right off the first throw-in, with Nic Roldan running it in for the goal. But foul trouble began to catch up with Grand Champions as they committed four fouls in the first chukker, allowing Adolfo Cambiaso to convert a penalty 2 and tie the game back up at 1-all.
A very open second chukker with no fouls saw each team score two goals. Roldan and Juancito Bollini scored for Grand Champions/Casablanca, while Valiente answered back with goals from Cambiaso and Felipe Viana. The game looked like it was going to go down to the final chukker. However, the Grand Champions/Casablanca attack struggled in the third, with the team unable to record a shot at goal. Valiente I didn’t commit any fouls in the first half, never allowing Roldan to get to the penalty line, where he has been extremely successful throughout the season. Grand Champions/Casablanca committed a penalty 1 on a Cambiaso attack, allowing Valiente I to take a one-goal lead into halftime.
Cambiaso seemed to be everywhere in the fourth chukker. He recorded three field goals to bring his total to six goals on the game with two chukkers still to play. Grand Champions/Casablanca took advantage of scoring their own penalty 1 goal to stay within reach, trailing by two goals entering the fifth chukker. Grant Ganzi started the fifth with an amazing run, holding off Cambiaso and finishing it off with a goal. Ganzi wasn’t the only patron to score, as Bob Jornayvaz made a goal from the field to help Valiente maintain their lead.
The determined play of Cambiaso, who finished with seven goals on the day (while his teammates provided one goal each), led Valiente I to a 10-9 victory and secured their spot in the Ylvisaker Cup quarterfinals.
Mt. Brilliant Bests Goose Creek 9-8
In a win-or-go-home scenario, both teams entered the game without a win, having previously lost in overtime. Throughout the game, it was clear the teams were evenly matched. Goose Creek converted both shot attempts in the first chukker, with goals from Tomas Garcia del Rio and Peke Gonzalez. Mt. Brilliant replied with a penalty goal from Jason Crowder and a field goal from Santiago Chavanne to end the first chukker tied at 2.
The second chukker was identical for Mt. Brilliant, as Crowder and Chavanne scored in the same fashion. But Goose Creek was unable to score, resulting in a two-goal deficit, which turned out to be the greatest gap that was seen all game. The third chukker was the exact opposite. This time Goose Creek added two goals, holding Mt. Brilliant scoreless. The game was tied failed at 4 heading into halftime in a game that seemed destined for overtime.
Another evenly matched chukker didn’t separate the teams as they each added one goal. But things began to change in the fifth. Despite fouling five times, Goose Creek managed to generate more scoring chances, putting four shots at goal and converting three of them. Mt. Brilliant’s Chavanne recorded one goal from the field.
Trailing by two heading into the sixth chukker, Mt. Brilliant turned it around with Chavanne scoring yet again, his fourth goal of the game. Goose Creek tried to respond, but after a rare missed penalty from Mariano Gonzalez, Jason Crowder put his fifth and sixth goals through the posts to give his team a one-goal lead with little time remaining. Mt. Brilliant held on for the 9-8 victory, improving to 1-2 in the tournament.
The Ylvisaker Cup continues Monday with two games at IPC: Postage Stamp vs. Travieso (10:30 a.m. Isla Carroll East), and Tonkawa vs. La Indiana (3 p.m. field 4).
All games in the Ylvisaker Cup are being live streamed on the USPA Polo Network: uspolo.org.
Game report, stats and photographs provided by International Polo Club Palm Beach.