Nov 22, 2020 5:18 PM


La Indiana defeated Newport by 13-9 while Casablanca edged out Sebucan 10-9 in the National Twenty Goal® Semi-finals. The winning teams will advance to the final on Sunday, November 22, at Grand Champions Polo Club (Wellington, Florida).

La Indiana’s Jeff Hall explodes on a breakaway to goal. 
La Indiana’s Jeff Hall explodes on a breakaway to goal.

In the first match of the National Twenty Goal® semi-finals , 17-goal Newport (Gene Goldstein, Sugar Erskine, Michel Dorignac, Juan Bollini) met 17-goal La Indiana (Matthew Gonzalez, Jeff Hall, Kris Kampsen, Nick Manifold) on Friday, November 20, at the La Indiana Polo Farm.

Gonzalez, substituting for La Indiana’s Michael Bickford, put the first goal on the board halfway through the first chukker, picking up a pass from teammate Kampsen and putting it through the posts. Kampsen fired a long shot down the field to an unguarded Hall, who tapped the ball through to score, and in the last seconds of the chukker Kampsen and Hall repeated the play to end the period 3-0 in favor of La Indiana. Newport had no better luck in the second chukker, with La Indiana keeping the team off the goal while Gonzalez and Manifold scored to end the period 5-0.

In the third period, Kampsen scored on a penalty after Dorignac was called for crossing the line. Goldstein answered by scoring the first goal of the match for Newport, and Erskine followed up to see Newport with back-to-back goals. Kampsen found the goal again to end the half 7-2 for La Indiana.

Newport is known for coming to life in the second half, and this match was no different. Less than a minute into the fourth chukker, Goldstein got out in front and shot on goal to bring the score 7-3. At the three-minute mark, Kampsen broke away to score but Newport answered with two consecutive goals by Erskine to end the chukker 8-5 for La Indiana. Kampsen and Gonzalez put La Indiana up to 10 before Goldstein was able to get another goal and bring Newport up to 6. Dorignac scored on a Penalty 3 to end the fifth chukker 10-7.

Newport’s Sugar Erskine.
Newport’s Sugar Erskine.

Despite a strong effort in the final chukker by Newport and two more goals by Erskine and Juan Bollini, they were outscored by La Indiana. Kampsen took a rest in the final chukker while Gonzalez, Hall and Manifold all put points on the board. La Indiana defeated Newport by a score of 13-9. Gonzalez, Kampsen and Erskine each had four goals in total in a three-way tie for top scoring honors.

The second semi-final match featured Sebucan (Pablo Pulido, Brandon Phillips, Horacio Heguy, Pablo Spinacci) against Casablanca (Nico Harriott, Grant Ganzi*, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan). Sebucan was playing off a 17-goal handicap, with Casablanca fielding a 16-goal lineup. Casablanca started the match with one goal on the board due to handicap.

Sebucan’s Pablo Pulido.
Sebucan’s Pablo Pulido.

Roldan, feigning a back shot, eluded pursuit and scored the first goal of the match. While Sebucan made some impressive drives down the field, they ran into trouble at the goal and weren’t able to get on the board in the first chukker. Juancito Bollini fired a shot through the posts in the second chukker, with Phillips scoring the first goal of the day for Sebucan to end the period 3-1 for Casablanca.

At slightly under two minutes into the third chukker, Roldan jumped back on his own pass to score. Harriott broke away and got to the goal, putting another one on the board for Casablanca, bringing the score to 5-1. Sebucan retaliated with Pulido dodging Ganzi to snap the ball through, but Juancito Bollini found a clear shot at the end of the chukker, finishing off the half 6-2 for Casablanca.

Despite Casablanca’s recent spate of wins, the team has been prone to losing focus in the second half. Sebucan capitalized on this weakness, keeping Casablanca away from the posts while racking up three goals. Spinacci came through with the first goal of the chukker, followed up by an impossibly angled shot on goal by Pulido. With just seconds left in the chukker, Spinnaci bounced the ball of the posts and through the goal to end the period at 5-6, drawing within striking distance of Casablanca.

Casablanca’s Juancito Bollini prepares for a booming shot down field.
Casablanca’s Juancito Bollini prepares for a booming shot down field.

After almost five-and-a-half minutes of running, Roldan found the goal to bring the score to 5-7 for Casablanca. Phillips scored following a Penalty 4, the first in the chukker, and with 41 seconds left to play Spinacci tied the match at 7 all. Roldan, realizing that the time for action was nigh, put Casablanca back into the lead in the first 15 seconds of the final chukker and scored again at 5:34, putting Casablanca ahead 9-7. Heguy whittled the lead to one, but a pony put another goal on the board for Casablanca. Spinacci found the posts with another impressively angled shot, but Casablanca won the day with a final score of 10-9. Nic Roldan was the high- scoring player with five goals.

All photos courtesy of ©Grand Champions Polo Club.

*Grant Ganzi is a Team USPA alumni. 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.