Tonkawa and Santa Clara Victorious in CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship®
The second day of the CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship® began with Tonkawa defeating Postage Stamp Farm 10-8, while Santa Clara convincingly defeated SD Farms 13-6 with play continuing at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
Leading the game from start to finish, Tonkawa produced more offensive chances throughout the game, with Sapo Caset and Agustin Merlos working well alongside each other, while also effectively using Jeff Hildebrand and Sterling Giannico to stretch the field. A changing line-up for Postage Stamp Farm saw Joaquin Pittaluga step in for Mariano Aguerre and Leon Schwencke enter the game in the third chukker for Annabelle Gundlach, resulting in the team searching for chemistry throughout parts of the game. Tonkawa raced out to the lead behind 10-goaler Sapo Caset, who scored five goals in the opening half. Postage Stamp Farm struggled to keep pace offensively, with Pittaluga and Joaquin Panelo trying to find Lerin Zubiaurre downfield, but he was tightly marked by the Tonkawa defence that led to Tonkawa holding the 6-2 lead at halftime.
A slow start to the second half saw five combined fouls in the fourth chukker with neither team able to break away for a run. Schwencke made an early impact with his first goal of the game, but Postage Stamp Farm couldn’t reduce the deficit, trailing by four. Foul trouble for Tonkawa late in the game opened the door for Postage Stamp Farm to make a comeback, led by two penalty conversions from Zubiaurre, but the tightly marking defence of Tonkawa limited the chances of Postage Stamp Farm from the field, leading to the 10-8 victory to begin their CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship®.
The second game of the day featured another dominating performance with Santa Clara overwhelming SD Farms after trailing in the early stages of the game. Finishing 8 for 10 from the field with a balanced team offense, all four players for Santa Clara scored at least two goals, including Benjamin Avendano, playing in place of Nico Escobar. Juan Ruiz Guinazu created early offense for SD Farms, giving his team the 2-1 lead on perfect 2 for 2 shooting, but foul trouble gave the momentum to Santa Clara for the remainder of the half. Four penalty goals for Ignacio Toccalino on five attempts pushed Santa Clara into the lead, while SD Farms was held scoreless in the second and third chukkers, consistently losing field position due to four fouls.
Held off the scoresheet for the third consecutive chukker, Ignacio Toccalino and Luis Escobar added a goal each to extend Santa Clara’s lead to seven. Back-to-back goals for Pelon Escapite ended Santa Clara’s run of nine unanswered goals, but Santa Clara’s consistent passing attack proved to be too much in the game. The efficiency of Santa Clara was noteworthy with three of their four players finishing a perfect 100% from the field, to claim the commanding 13-6 victory in their opening game of the tournament.