The United States Polo Association® (USPA) is pleased to announce that the Women’s Arena Open and Women’s Arena Handicap will be livestreamed on the USPA Polo Network on uspolo.org for a world-wide audience October 19-22 from the Virginia Polo Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Championed by University of Virginia Coach Lou Lopez, the Women’s Arena Open first took shape last year at Virginia Polo Inc., more commonly referred to as the Virginia Polo Center, as the Women’s Arena Challenge Cup.
While the original aim had been to hold an open tournament, Association regulations limited an “open” arena tournament to a 12-goal handicap and above. Luckily a precedent had already been set with the creation of the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ the outdoor grass version. The addition of women’s outdoor handicaps sparked the concept of women’s arena handicaps, which allowed multiple teams to meet the required handicap level for an open tournament.
The inaugural Women’s Arena Open will feature four teams ranging from the 18-22 goal level with the semifinals taking place Friday, October 20, at 6:00pm and 8:00pm ET. The Women’s Arena Handicap will showcase four teams competing at the 12-16 goal level with the semifinals being played Thursday, October 19, at 6:00pm and 8:00pm ET. The Women’s Arena Handicap Final will be played Saturday, October 21 at 3:00pm ET and the Women’s Arena Open will culminate on Sunday, October 22, at 12:00pm ET.
The USPA is also working to secure the transition of students into life-long members. “The Women’s Arena Open is yet another defined path that female players can follow to either continue their polo careers as amateurs or professionals,” said Maureen Brennan, USPA High-Goal Committee Chairman. “There are so many young women in the United States Intercollegiate and Interscholastic programs that can now aspire to participate in such an important tournament beyond their years as a student.
"My motivation to play in this inaugural Women’s Arena Open is to support women’s polo in general, to play with and against the best female arena players in the country and to be a part of history which I find very inspiring. The healthy number of teams in the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ and Women’s Arena Open is very symbolic of the role of women in polo in the United States and globally,” Brennan continued.
Local fans of polo are encouraged to come out and support their favorite team. Entry is free and tailgating spots are available. For more information on the Virginia Polo Center, please visit vapolo.org. Those who cannot attend in person can tune in to the USPA Polo Network on uspolo.org to watch the high-goal arena action live. For tournament details, rosters and schedules, please visit uspolo.org.
Photo by Peter Grant