Mar 03, 2022 5:15 PM

Lucas Escobar scored the overtime golden goal for SD Farms' first victory in the USPA Gold Cup® at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. ©David Lominska
Lucas Escobar scored the overtime golden goal for SD Farms' first victory in the USPA Gold Cup® at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. ©David Lominska

Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach.

Continuing the second day of bracket play in the USPA Gold Cup® at International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC), doubleheader action saw the debuts of CK Shack (Henry Porter, Martin "Facha" Valent, Santiago Toccalino, Kris Kampsen) and Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream (Matias Magrini, Santino Magrini, Stevie Orthwein, Joaquin Panelo) in the GAUNTLET OF POLO®.

Kicking-off the day at Isla Carroll East, La Fe (Robi Bilbao, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Francisco Elizalde, Louis Devaleix) and CK Shack engaged in a high scoring affair, as the duo of Alberdi and Elizalde combined for fourteen goals to deliver La Fe a 17-10 victory. Battling the elements underneath dreary skies, Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream and SD Farms (Sayyu Dantata, Peco Polledo, Pablo MacDonough, Lucas Escobar*) met on Field 3 in a riveting match up where SD Farms’ Escobar won the contested match on a Penalty 2 goal in overtime for an 11-10 win.

Starting with two goals on handicap, Alberdi burst onto the field and extended La Fe’s early lead with an additional three field goals. Responding to a Penalty 3 conversion from CK Shack’s Toccalino, Elizalde made his return to GAUNTLET competition for La Fe following an injury sustained in the C.V. Whitney Cup® to score four unanswered goals, including two from the penalty line. Taking a commanding 9-1 lead, Kampsen and Toccalino injected life back into CK Shack’s offense, with CK Shack taking control of the third chukker to score four more goals, with two coming off the mallet of Valent, to bring their team back into contention trailing 10-7 at the break.

Regrouping at the half, Elizalde stepped up once more for La Fe and managed to fire through traffic on back-to-back goals, while Alberdi knocked another through the posts to regain a six-goal advantage. Not willing to concede, Toccalino and Valent each found the posts for CK Shack, but the fire power of Elizalde and teammate Bilbao could not be denied, as La Fe went into the final chukker of play with a 15-9 lead. Two more goals for Elizalde capped off his tremendous nine-goal performance, including six from open play. Despite sending Toccalino back to the line on consecutive penalty goals, CK Shack could not overcome their first half deficit, as La Fe’s twelve goals on twenty-four shots carried them to a spectacular offensively driven 17-10 victory.

Meeting on Field 3 for the final game of the doubleheader, Pablo MacDonough made his GAUNTLET® debut with SD Farms as a substitute for David “Pelon” Stirling, while Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream entered the competition in their first appearance of the season. Striking first for SD Farms, the 10-goaler MacDonough hit the goal for his first of four in the match, while Panelo also made an early impression on back-to-back Penalty 2 conversions.

Answering each other step-by-step, the two teams traded scoring opportunities with Polledo adding his name to the scoreboard for SD Farms, while Panelo continued his success from the 30-yard line, as Matias Magrini drew a Penalty 1. Tied 4-all, two more goals from Escobar, including a brilliant assist from Dantata lifted SD Farms to a 6-4 lead at the half.

Emerging from the break, clean and open play from both sides resulted in a four-goal fourth chukker, with each team scoring twice from the field, as Dantata found his first for SD Farms, while Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream’s Orthwein also found the mark for his first. Keeping Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream within striking distance, Panelo continued to generate space and apply pressure on SD Farms with his fourth successful penalty conversion, followed by back-to-back field goals to tie the game at 9-all.

Keeping in stride with the back-and-forth play that dominated the match, a final drive from Escobar in the latter stages of the fifth was answered by a crucial goal from Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream’s Santino Magrini to force the game into overtime.

Prepared to go the distance, both teams continued their tight play, where CK Shack quickly ran into foul trouble, awarding SD Farms a golden opportunity on a Penalty 2. Contributing three field goals in regulation, Escobar redeemed himself from an early missed Penalty 3 and sent the ball rolling over the line to score SD Farms’ only penalty goal in the tight matchup to seize the 11-10 overtime win.

*Lucas Escobar is an Active Team USPA Member. 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.