Mar 14, 2022 2:11 PM

Stevie Orthwein scored the winning goal to advance Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream into the quarterfinals of the USPA Gold Cup® at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. ©David Lominska
Stevie Orthwein scored the winning goal to advance Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream into the USPA Gold Cup® quarterfinals at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. ©David Lominska

Needing overtime to decide their first encounter in the USPA Gold Cup®, Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream (Santino Magrini*, Matias Magrini, Joaquin Panelo, Stevie Orthwein) and SD Farms (Sayyu Dantata, Geronimo Obregon, Felipe "Pipe" Vercellino, Ignacio "Nacho" Novillo Astrada) met on U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1 in the first play-off game to battle for a spot in the quarterfinals. Another close match resulted in Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream claiming their first victory and advancing in the tournament with an 11-10 victory.

Trailing throughout much of the game, Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream remained within reach with a combined team effort that featured at least two goals from all four players. Gaining their first lead of the game in the sixth chukker, Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream’s resilience paid off with Orthwein coming forward to score the final two goals for his team. SD Farms were just steps away from victory, led by perfect six for six penalty shooting from Vercellino, who finished with a game-high seven goals, but the final chukker surge from Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream secured the victory in the first play-off game.

Drawing on their chemistry from their previous game, SD Farms’ new line-up resulted in a quick 2-0 lead after field goals from Obregon and Astrada. Young Santino Magrini opened the scoring for Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream, but it was a brief reprieve from the SD Farms attack, which continued to drive forward.

A Penalty 3 conversion for Vercellino was followed by a field goal from Dantata, leaving SD Farms with a commanding 4-1 lead in the second chukker. In a relatively clean opening half, foul trouble for SD Farms in the third chukker resulted in a Penalty 1 and Penalty 3 for Matias Magrini, bringing Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream back within one, trailing 5-4 at halftime.

With a win needed to continue in the tournament, the defense tightened on both sides of the ball leading to less goals from the field and offense being generated from the penalty line. Matias Magrini and Vercellino exchanged penalty conversions as SD Farms maintained their narrow one-goal advantage. Behind a determined effort, Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream finally pulled even in the fifth chukker after consecutive penalty conversions for Panelo.

After Vercellino’s fifth penalty conversion inched SD Farms back ahead by one, Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream reorganized and produced five shots at goal in the final minutes. Leading the charge was Orthwein, who gave his team their first lead at 10-9. With time ticking down, Orthwein intercepted a pass at the 60-yard line and fired the ball through the posts with just 17 seconds left, sending Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream into the quarterfinals with the thrilling 11-10 win.

*Santino Magrini is a Graduating 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.