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AMERICA CUP: FINAL ROUND OF BRACKET PLAY DETERMINES SEMIFINALISTS

Aug 06, 2019 7:22 PM

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Klentner Ranch's Jesse Bray carries the ball down field.
Klentner Ranch's Jesse Bray carries the ball down field.

The Farmers & Merchants Bank America Cup heated up on Sunday, August 4, in the final round of bracket play. A busy day of polo with a triple header of matches, Lucchese, Klentner Ranch, Farmers & Merchants Bank and FMB Too! secured semifinal positions.

The first game of the day pitted Klentner Ranch against Lucchese. Facundo Obregon put the first goal on the board from the field for Lucchese. Due to an injury, Justin Klentner sat down in the third chukker and was replaced by his son, Jake Klentner. The score remained close throughout the first half until Lucchese began to pull away in the fourth chukker. Two goals by Jeff Hall allowed Lucchese to take the lead 9-7. Klentner Ranch fought back in the fifth chukker with goals from Jesse Bray*, Tomas Alberdi* and Klentner. However, it was not enough to close the gap. Lucchese guaranteed their spot in the semifinals with a narrow 12-11 victory.

One-goaler Leon Schwenke filled in for Santa Clara's Francisco Escobar.
One-goaler Leon Schwenke filled in for Santa Clara's Francisco Escobar.

Danny Walker’s Farmers & Merchants Bank faced off against Santa Clara in the second match. One-goaler Leon Schwenke filled in for Escobar patriarch, Francisco, and FMB’s Lucas Criado was replaced by Juan Monteverde. Due to the substitution, FMB began with a two-goal handicap at the onset of the game (Lucas Criado is rated at 7 goals while Monteverde is rated 5 goals). FMB began the game motivated, firing on all cylinders they quickly sunk four goals in the first chukker to bring the score to a hefty 6-1. Santa Clara’s Mariano Obregon diligently worked to close the gap in the second adding two goals from the field. Santa Clara continued to push back in the third chukker trailing by three at the half 9-6. After an inspiring halftime, FMB retaliated with five goals in the fourth and fifth chukkers only answered by a single goal from Santa Clara. Santa Clara finished strong however, scoring three additional goals in the sixth, for a final score of 15-10 as FMB rode away with the win.

Farmers & Merchants Bank's Felipe Vercellino and Santa Clara's Mariano Obregon battle for possession.
Farmers & Merchants Bank's Felipe Vercellino and Santa Clara's Mariano Obregon battle for possession.

The featured Sunday match on the main field included teams, BenSoleimani.com and Sol de Agosto. An even first chukker, each team scored one penalty and one goal from the field. Sol de Agosto came out slightly stronger in the second with two additional goals, answered by only one from BenSoleimani.com. BenSoleimani.com turned the game around before halftime however with an impressive five goals scored collectively, one from patron, Ben Soleimani, one from Tomas Alberdi and three from 7-goaler Iñaki Laprida. Bensoleimani.com’s momentum continued into the fourth and fifth with four unanswered goals. Moving into the final chukker, Sol de Agosto mounted a comeback with exceptional play from young gun Tomas Schewenke, and Paco de Narvaez, however their efforts were not enough to take back the lead and BenSoleimani.com cruised to a 14-8 victory.

Sol de Agosto's Paco de Narvaez taps the ball forward as Bensoleimani.com's Tomas Alberdi follows close behind.
Sol de Agosto's Paco de Narvaez taps the ball forward as Bensoleimani.com's Tomas Alberdi follows close behind.

*Jesse Bray and Tomas Alberdi are members of Team USPA. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.

All photos courtesy of ©David Lominska.

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