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CLEAN SWEEP: DUNDAS RAISES PACIFIC COAST CIRCUIT INTRA-CIRCUIT CUP

Jun 29, 2020 12:24 PM

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2020 Pacific Coast Circuit Intra-Circuit Champions: Dundas - Mariano Fassetta, Juan Cruz Marcos, Santi Torres, Sarah Siegel-Magness.
2020 Pacific Coast Circuit Intra-Circuit Champions: Dundas - Mariano Fassetta, Juan Cruz Marcos, Santi Torres, Sarah Siegel-Magness.

Entering the finals with the momentum and confidence of an undefeated team, Dundas (Sarah Siegel-Magness, Santiago Torres*, Mariano Fassetta, Juan Cruz Marcos) faced their final challenger Antelope Jr. (Grant Palmer, Juan Monteverde, Felipe Vercellino, Bautista Von Wernich) for the Pacific Coast Circuit Intra-Circuit Cup. Coming out strong in the first chukker and extending their lead throughout the game, Dundas played with unmatched intensity to win the title 16-9 on Sunday, June 28, at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California.

Striking from the field to open up the first, Juan Monteverde was quickly countered by a series of three consecutive goals as Dundas fired between the posts. Adding their second tally to the scoreboard, Antelope Jr.’s goal was met once more by back-to-back goals from 7-goaler Santi Torres to close the second chukker 5-2 in favor of Dundas. “Our strategy was simplicity,” Siegel-Magness said. “Our game plan was playing man to man and making sure we each worked together to clear the space to make runs to goal. While defense was our first priority, we then transitioned to a strong offense.” Consistently producing a goal per chukker, Monteverde saw an opportunity to capitalize on a Penalty 2 conversion early in the third. Dundas sprung into action with another offensive attack to increase their growing lead by five and with all team members contributing to the scoreboard by halftime 8-3.

Antelope Jr.'s Juan Monteverde on the ball.
Antelope Jr.'s Juan Monteverde on the ball.

Returning in the second half with a Penalty 4 conversion, Monteverde continued to keep Antelope Jr. in the fight as the only member to score so far. Picking up another three, Dundas maintained their steady upward trajectory with undeniable strategy, concentration and determination. Rising to Antelope Jr.’s aid in the fifth chukker, Felipe Vercellino answered back with two goals, yet Dundas relentlessly added three more to their tally to end the fifth with a significant lead 14-6. Hammering in two final goals to bring his total to eight, Torres created a deficit virtually unconquerable by their opponents at such a late stage in the game. Launching three goals of his own in the final minutes, Monteverde’s effort could not overcome the disparity and Dundas was named 2020 champions winning 16-9.

“I’m extremely grateful to my team,” Siegel-Magness said. “Santi [Torres] was injured early in the season and having him come back so quickly and strong was amazing. Mariano [Fassetta] and I have been playing together for a few years and this win meant so much because he spends so much time working with me on drills and technique. Also, watching my pilot Juan Cruz [Marcos] shine in his first 12-goal tournament and seeing his personal progress was exciting for me.”

Dundas' Santi Torres keeps his eye on the ball as he leads the field to goal.
Dundas' Santi Torres keeps his eye on the ball as he leads the field to goal.

Responsible for five of Dundas’ total goals, Juan Cruz Marcos, was named Most Valuable Player. “For me it was a great experience, plus this was my first season in the United States and I'm very happy to be participating in USPA tournaments,” Marcos said.

Most Valuable Player Juan Cruz Marcos, presented by Pacific Coast Circuit Governor Danny Walker.
Most Valuable Player Juan Cruz Marcos, presented by Pacific Coast Circuit Governor Danny Walker.

Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Cypress (River Dance x Magnolia), played by Santi Torres as a spare throughout the game with four appearances and bred and owned by Valiente. “Cypress was made by Owen Rinehart and sired by his stallion River Dance a standing stud at his breeding facility Isinya,” Torres said.

Best Playing Pony: Cypress, played and owned by Santi Torres, pictured with Fabian Silva.
Best Playing Pony: Cypress, played by Santi Torres and owned by Valiente, pictured with Fabian Silva.

In addition to the trophy, Dundas also received $2,500.00 in prize money from participating in the COVID-19 USPA Polo Tournament Stimulus Package. “I gave the prize money to my team to pass on to the grooms,” Siegel-Magness shared. “Our grooms make all this possible and they deserve to be recognized for a job well done. I appreciate them so much and they work so hard to keep both the players and horses safe!”

*Santi Torres 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.

All photos ©David Lominska.

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