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5:30 PM ET

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12

CENTRAL CIRCUIT CONSTITUTION CUP - CHICAGO INVITATIONAL

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Las Brisas

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Aug

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CENTRAL CIRCUIT CONSTITUTION CUP - CHICAGO INVITATIONAL

Las Brisas Polo Club - f

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Mon

Aug

10

NATIONAL EIGHT GOAL

Beverly Polo Club

5:30 PM ET

Altair

Foxlease/Sugarland Farms

Wed

Aug

12

CENTRAL CIRCUIT CONSTITUTION CUP - CHICAGO INVITATIONAL

Las Brisas Polo Club

6:00 PM ET

Oak Brook Polo

G-Squared

Wed

Aug

12

CENTRAL CIRCUIT CONSTITUTION CUP - CHICAGO INVITATIONAL

Las Brisas Polo Club

6:00 PM ET

Las Brisas

Passion For Polo (PFP)

Fri

Aug

14

CENTRAL CIRCUIT CONSTITUTION CUP - CHICAGO INVITATIONAL

Las Brisas Polo Club - f

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BTA STORMS THROUGH THE H. BEN TAUB MEMORIAL FINAL

Nov 01, 2018 6:08 PM

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2018 H. Ben Taub Memorial Champions BTA (L to R) Kelly Beal, Toly Ulloa, Steve Krueger, Jeff Hall. Pictured with Tommy Biddle and Kitch Taub.
2018 H. Ben Taub Memorial Champions BTA (L to R) Kelly Beal, Toly Ulloa, Steve Krueger, Jeff Hall. Pictured with Tommy Biddle and Kitch Taub.

Houston Polo Club, located in Houston, Texas, played the H. Ben Taub Memorial in between weeks of torrential downpour that stalled play several times, eventually culminating in a rainy final on Wednesday, October 31. Despite unfavorable weather in the second half of the game, finalists BTA (Kelly Beal, Toly Ulloa, Steve Krueger*, Jeff Hall) and Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Matt Coppola*, Nacho Badiola, Mason Wroe*) fought hard for the title, BTA ultimately coming out on top 10-7.

Tonkawa's Matt Coppola controls the ball.
Tonkawa's Matt Coppola controls the ball.

Rivals for several seasons at Houston Polo Club, the H. Ben Taub Memorial served as the second 14-goal final matchup of the season for both teams. Losing to Tonkawa in the Keleen and Carlton Beal Cup as well as in H. Ben Taub bracket play, BTA was hungry for redemption. Play started out even as both teams matched each other in goals scored; two penalty conversions, one each by BTA’s Krueger and Ulloa and two field goals by Tonkawa’s Coppola. “It’s been a tough season for everyone to get anything going in any sort of rhythm, but we had a good couple of practices to get ready and tried to keep it simple,” explained Krueger. “We moved the ball well and tried to play off of each other a little more than making individual plays.” Eager to gain the edge on their adversaries, BTA scored three goals in the second, while shutting Tonkawa out for the entirety of the chukker. While both teams traded goals back and forth throughout the third, BTA finished out the first half doubled up on their opponents 8-4.

Most Valuable Player Toly Ulloa pictured with Kitch Taub.
Most Valuable Player Toly Ulloa pictured with Kitch Taub.

In classic Houston fashion, rain came at the most inconvenient time at the top of the fourth. Despite the heavy stream of showers, the field held up, and both teams were determined to finish what they had started. Coming back from the break reorganized, Tonkawa mounted a comeback, sinking three consecutive field goals, coming within one of BTA. In a fight to the finish, BTA capitalized on two more shots on goal to take the day’s win and the 2018 H. Ben Taub Memorial Final 10-7.

“It’s been really difficult with the rain to get the team going,” shared Hall after the game. “The first game we played them [Keleen and Carlton Beal Cup Final] we didn’t have time to get the horses ready with the rain. Then when we played them in bracket play the second time, we didn’t play with Steve because he got hurt in an 8-goal game and we lost that game going into the sixth chukker winning by three. Today we kept it together for six chukkers and that was the result, everybody played well and when that happens we win.”

Best Playing Pony Lavina Caprichosa pictured with Antonio Aguilar, Vicente "Brujo" Vargas, Toly Ulloa and Juan Pablo Ledesma.
Best Playing Pony Lavina Caprichosa pictured with Antonio Aguilar, Vicente "Brujo" Vargas, Toly Ulloa and Juan Pablo Ledesma.

Most Valuable Player was presented to Toly Ulloa. His homebred mare 14-year-old argentine thoroughbred, Lavina Caprichosa, played in the fifth chukker won Best Playing Pony. Shared amongst the family, she was played in the 2018 U.S. Open Polo Championship® by older brother Hilario Ulloa.

*Steve Krueger and Mason Wroe are Team USPA alumni and Matt Coppola is a member 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 ©Kaylee Wroe Photography.

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