A head-spinner weekend of five games wrapped up round 1 for all but one of the 13 teams in the 2018 Ylvisaker Cup, which opened February 1 at International Polo Club Palm Beach. The first game for Colorado is today against SD Farms (both are new 20-goal teams this season). Round two starts directly afterward with a 3 p.m. matchup between Pilot (another new team) and La Indiana.
Two of the new teams took upset wins in their first goes: SD Farms defeated La Indiana 10-7, and Pilot took Audi 13-11. The following teams stand 1-0: Postage Stamp Farm, Tonkawa, Valiente, Carillon Miami Beach, Pilot and SD Farms. The 0-1 teams: Coca-Cola, GSA, Travieso, Audi, La Indiana and Prestige Worldwide.
Here’s a look at how the round one games played out and what’s on tap in round two.
PILOT DEF AUDI 13-11: With longtime family friends and polo colleagues Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres at the controls, Curtis Pilot debuted with his new 20-goal team. Together the brothers made 11 of Pilot’s 13 goals in the Ylvisaker opening game against Audi in the fast, open game. Sixteen-year-old rising star Timmy Dutta contributed Pilot’s other two goals.
The complexion of the game changed in the third chukker, when Pilot broke the 5-5 tie—and then some. They scored five goals and held Audi scoreless for a 9-5 advantage at the half, increasing their advantage to five (11-6) at the end of the fourth chukker. Audi suddenly snapped into form, which seemed to surprise Pilot, and finished the game just two goals behind.
Nic Roldan’s sportsmanship gave Audi some instant karma. He made a shot on goal that (depending on your vantage point) either went through the posts or wobbled a tad wide. With the rest of the field erupting in disagreement, Roldan calmly sat on his horse a few yards from the goal line and waved his mallet to concede the goal. The umpires reviewed the video and ruled it good.
Pilot has a tough schedule this week. They play La Indiana today and three days later are up against Carillon Miami on Feb. 9. Audi plays Prestige Worldwide on Feb. 7.
TONKAWA DEF GSA 12-7: Sapo Caset (whose nickname means toad in Spanish) took the field in his typical turbo-monster form. He made six goals total—one in every chukker but the fifth, when GSA managed to keep Tonkawa off the scoreboard. Caset made a relentless combo with Julian de Lusarreta (who will be his teammate on Las Monjitas in this year’s Argentine Open). De Lusarreta came through with five goals. The two made frequent assists, with their success amplified by the unflagging support of a revved up Sterling Giannico, who made his team’s final goal in the game.
In the sixth chukker Caset stuck to Matias Magrini like Gorilla Glue as Magrini took off on a 58-yard run to goal. Caset was within inches of catching up when Magrini scored, giving GSA a glimmer of hope. By then they were trailing Tonkawa by four goals (instead of what seemed an insurmountable 10-4 at the end of the fifth).
Next games: GSA v. Valiente (Feb.9); Tonkawa v. Travieso (Feb. 10).
Photo by David Lominska
VALIENTE DEF COCA-COLA 10-6: Santi Torres—always identifiable by his blazing red helmet—rejoins Valiente this season. In Valiente’s successful game against Coca-Cola, Torres impressed with a 300-yard run to goal. He assisted several goals by Adolfo Cambiaso. Patron Bob Jornayvaz contributed two strong goals, one each from the field and the penalty line.
Over his left sleeve Cambiaso sported a wide yellow armband with a large letter C (not a reference to his last name; it designates the team captain, per this year’s standards). Cambiaso’s armband was upside down, which made the “C” backwards, but as always there was never any doubt who was in charge out there.
Valiente dominated without exception, maintaining a four-goal lead at the end of each of the fourth, fifth and sixth chukkers. But the 2017 U.S. Open victor found themselves working harder than expected. Coca-Cola’s Julio Arellano and Sugar Erskine poured on the pressure with assists by Steve Krueger, who has already been playing a strong season.
Both teams play again this week: Valiente v. GSA on Feb. 9 at 11 a.m., and Coca-Cola v. Postage Stamp Farm on Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.
SD FARMS DEF LA INDIANA 10-7: Clearly SD Farms seemed to surprise even themselves with their takedown of La Indiana, a semifinalist in the 2018 Joe Barry Cup. Following the win the SD Farms tent looked like the streets of Philadelphia after the Super Bowl. Giddy laughter and a shout of “That felt like playing a final!” bounced among them. Everyone acknowledged how hard La Indiana made them work for the win.
For Sayyu Dantata of Nigeria, his first time bringing a team to Florida became a showcase of super play, both for himself and his team. The patron made three goals from the field, equally distributed throughout the game (chukkers 1, 3 and 5), throwing fuel on an already rampaging SD Farms. Iñaki LaPrida scored for SD in every chukker but the first with six goals, three from the field and three from the penalty line.
Toro Ruiz came through with four goals for a defiant La Indiana, but they just couldn’t squelch the SD momentum. SD took the win by three (10-7).
Both teams play today: SD Farms v. Colorado; La Indiana v. Pilot.
Photo by David Lominska
POSTAGE STAMP DEF TRAVIESO 12-11: Yellow flags were flapping in the wind in this rowdy game. Five of the eight players drew yellows, three of which (along with three challenges) came in the fifth and sixth chukkers. During that time the score was tied twice, and the gap was never more than one or two goals.
Postage Stamp led consistently throughout the game until young Tony Calle tied the score at 10 in the sixth. He immediately snatched the ball again and ran it 120 yards for a communal team play that pulled Travieso ahead 11-10. After another tie Postage Stamp took the day on a penalty 2. Toward the end of the game everyone feared it becoming a 4-on-3 situation. If any of the yellow-carded players drew a second one, he would be benched for the rest of the game, but luck held out. The game came within a breath of overtime.
Joaquín Panelo did a tremendous job subbing for Kris Kampsen, a repeat of his performance in the semifinals of the Bobby Barry Cup (Joe Barry subsidiary). Panelo made five goals in the Ylvisaker game, all from the field, and provided crucial assists to Mariano Aguerre and Brandon Phillips. No surprise, he was named MVP.
Both teams play this Saturday, Feb. 10: Postage Stamp v. Coca-Cola and Travieso v. Tonkawa.
Photo by David Lominska
CARILLON MIAMI BEACH DEF PRESTIGE WORLDWIDE 10-8: The team formerly known as Modere in the Joe Barry Cup became Carillon Miami Beach at the start of the Ylvisaker. Captain Hilario Ulloa was as consistent as ever, coming through with five goals total (every chukker except the sixth).
Prestige held the lead through the fifth chukker, but Carillon Miami eclipsed them in the final two minutes of play. Jim and Jared Zenni carried the weight, making the last two goals of the game. Jared was stealth and slick, getting away from 9-goaler Miguel Novillo Astrada for a 240-yard gallop to goal, ending the game 10-8 for Carillon Miami Beach.
Their next games: Prestige Worldwide v. v. Audi (Feb. 7); Carillon Miami Beach v. Pilot (Feb. 9).