For Immediate Release
Wellington, FL – February 16, 2020 – The final day of bracket play in the 2020 C.V. Whitney Cup featured three games as the final six teams jockeyed for a position in the semi-finals. Patagones improved to a 2-0 record after narrowly defeating Daily Racing Form 9-8, while Coca-Cola produced a strong showing in the 11-9 victory over Equuleus. In the feature game of the week on the U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1, La Indiana secured their spot in the semi-finals, defeating Cessna 11-9.
In the opening game of the day, Patagones and Daily Racing Form battled into the final chukker, with Patagones holding on for the narrow victory, despite shooting just three for eight from the penalty line. Relying on the duo of Tomas Garcia del Rio and Santiago Toccalino, who combined for all eight of the nine goals, Patagones had enough additional possessions due to Daily Racing Form foul trouble to capture the victory. Daily Racing Form took the early 3-1 lead behind the efforts of Jared Zenni, keeping Patagones pinned in their own half for most of the first chukker. Garcia del Rio brought Patagones into the lead, scoring three goals from the field before the end of the first half, finding space behind the Daily Racing Form defense. Converting just one of their final five shots, Daily Racing Form was fortunate to be tied 5-5 at halftime.
An organized Patagones team dominated possession to begin the second half, holding Daily Racing Form to just one shot attempt over the fourth and fifth chukkers. After Costi Caset gave Daily Racing Form the 6-5 lead, Patagones responded with a run of four unanswered goals, three off the mallet of Toccalino to hold a commanding 9-6 advantage with just one chukker remaining. Consecutive goals from Zenni gave Daily Racing Form hope to capture their first victory, but time ran out on the comeback in the 9-8 defeat.
An exciting match between Coca-Cola and Equuleus showcased two evenly matched teams that remained tied or a single goal apart after every chukker but the last, as a strong finish from Coca-Cola secured the victory. Attacking goal with accuracy, Nico Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta provided a dynamic duo for Coca-Cola, while newcomer Aiden Meeker, playing in place of Joe DiMenna, performed admirably with three goals for Equuleus. A back and forth start to the game saw the two teams trade goals in the first two chukkers, with Coca-Cola unable to take the lead due to two missed Penalty 4 attempts. Tied at 3-3, Equuleus took the lead after a penalty 2 conversion from Mariano Gonzalez and Meeker’s second goal to hold a narrow 5-4 lead.
Foul trouble for Equuleus provided Coca-Cola with an opportunity to pull even in the match, shooting a perfect three for three from the penalty line over the fourth and fifth chukkers. With little separating the two teams, the umpires whistle continued to sound, as Equuleus added two penalty conversions of their own leaving the score tied at 8-8 heading into the final chukker. Highlight his strong performance in the game, de Lusarreta scored two goals in quick succession to start the sixth chukker, giving Coca-Cola the advantage with minutes remaining. Finding an opportune time for his first goal of the game, Steve Krueger sealed the 11-9 victory for Coca-Cola.
The final match of the day on the U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1 held immediate implications for the semi-finals, with a Cessna victory creating a three-way tie in Bracket I. A persistent offense from La Indiana saw them record at least one field goal in all six chukkers, while Cessna couldn’t overcome their inaccurate 36% shooting from the field in the two-goal loss. Holding a one-goal advantage on handicap, Cessna extended that lead to two on goals from Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario and Felipe Marquez. Facing a three-goal deficit, Jeff Hall was instrumental in bringing La Indiana back into the game, scoring his team’s first three goals on quick runs past the Cessna defense. A penalty two conversion from Polito Pieres tied the score at 4-4, with La Indiana continuing their momentum, scoring the final five goals of the first half to hold a 6-4 advantage.
Cessna’s offense continued to struggle from the field, but they were able to add to their total on the scoreboard from the penalty line, receiving three penalty goals from Nicolas Saenz in the second half. Pieres maintained La Indiana’s two goal lead in the fourth chukker, as two yellow cards for Marquez gave La Indiana an extra man on the field. With Cessna still in reach, they conceded a penalty one to Joaquin Avendano, entering the game for Michael Bickford, creating a larger deficit to climb. Despite five fouls in the final chukker, La Indiana held on for the 11-9 victory, and advancing to Wednesday’s semi-finals. Jeff Hall was named MVP of the match, and Polito Pieres’ “Yatay Planeta” captured the Best Playing Pony honors in front of the stadium.