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FARMERS & MERCHANTS BANK WINS ENGEL AND VÖLKERS AMERICA CUP IN A DOWN TO THE WIRE PUSH FOR VICTORY

Aug 08, 2017 6:54 PM

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2017 Engel and Volkers America Cup winners: Farmers & Merchants Bank (L to R) - Nico Escobar, Felipe Vercellino, Lucas Criado, Danny Walker
2017 Engel and Volkers America Cup winners: Farmers & Merchants Bank (L to R) - Nico Escobar, Felipe Vercellino, Lucas Criado, Danny Walker

Three generations of Escobars took to the field at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California, for the Engel and Völkers America Cup with the youngest Escobar, Nico, coming away with the win and the Most Valuable Player award. Farmers & Merchants Bank (FMB) made their way to their first final of the summer by swiftly defeating Klentner Ranch in the semifinal last Friday. They took their place against Santa Clara who went undefeated in bracket play.

Umpire throw-in during the Engel and Volkers America Cup Final.
Umpire throw-in during the Engel and Volkers America Cup Final.

Three miscued shots by Farmers and Merchants Bank gave Santa Clara possession for the majority of the first chukker, with each team scoring only one goal. The play continued at a furious pace in the second chukker. Felipe Vercellino converted a 40-yard penalty shot to push FMB up by a goal, but Mariano Obregon quickly answered with a goal from the field. Joaquin Panelo drew next blood, scoring his second goal of the match for Santa Clara, putting them in the lead 3-2. Vercellino, determined not to finish the chukker as the underdog, raced the length of the field and put his own tally on the board, tying the score at three goals apiece. 

Danny Walker of Farmers & Merchants Bank.
Danny Walker of Farmers & Merchants Bank.

Santa Clara capitalized on missed shots by Farmers & Merchants Bank and took advantage of two penalties called in their favor. Luis Escobar sunk both penalty shots with ease and took the lead, 5-3, for Santa Clara. Farmers & Merchants Bank controlled the ball early in the fifth chukker. Danny Walker took advantage of the open field in front of him, scoring twice on long passes down the grass. Luis Escobar and Panelo took back control on the offensive front, each adding another tally to the board. Lucas Criado answered back on a quick pony to put FMB within one. Luis Escobar scored the final goal of the chukker giving Santa Clara a two goal lead once again.

Most Valuable Player was awarded to Nico Escobar.
Most Valuable Player was awarded to Nico Escobar.

Farmers & Merchants Bank went on a scoring streak, staging a solid comeback in the sixth chukker. Nico Escobar made the difference for FMB scoring his first two goals of the match. A single goal by Panelo pushed back their strong offensive effort, but a penalty called in favor of FMB gave them the advantage. Nico Escobar scored the tying goal, flipping the momentum in their favor. A tricky play on the boards gave FMB possession once again and they marched the ball down towards their goal. A scuffle in the goal mouth resulted in a stalled play, but Criado poked the ball through, claiming victory for Farmers & Merchants Bank 10-9.

Best Playing Pony Bandana. Owned and played by Lucas Criado.
Best Playing Pony Bandana. Owned and played by Lucas Criado.

Nico Escobar, the youngest of the Escobar family and the Most Valuable Player of the match was calm and disciplined against his grandfather’s team. “Winning the final was a great experience for me. Playing against my father and grandfather at the club I grew up at was mentally tough for me because of everything they have done for me. I challenged myself to focus and channel everything that I was thinking about and put it out on the field. In the last minute, I was not nervous because we had just tied the game. We used that momentum to go and score the winning goal.”

Bandana owned and played by Lucas Criado was awarded Best Playing Pony. 

All photos © David Lominska 

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