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PARK PLACE AND DUTTA CORP/SHOW+ UTILIZE EXPERIENCE IN C.V. WHITNEY CUP® VICTORIES

Feb 11, 2022 3:36 PM

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Park Place's Hilario Ulloa led his team with eight goals in their opening match in the C.V. Whitney Cup® at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida.
Park Place's Hilario Ulloa led his team with eight goals in their opening match in the C.V. Whitney Cup® at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida.

Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach.

Doubleheader action continued in the C.V. Whitney Cup® at International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida, with Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Rufino Bensadon, Julian de Lusarreta, Nico Escobar*) facing Park Place (sub. Josh Hyde, Juan Britos, Hilario Ulloa, Cody Ellis*) on Field 4 and Dutta Corp/Show+ (Timmy Dutta*, Joaquin Avendano, Tomas Garcia del Rio, Ignacio "Inaki" Laprida) against La Fe (Robi Bilbao, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Francisco Elizalde, Louis Devaleix) on Field 4.

In the first of two debuts on the day, the defending 2021 C.V. Whitney Cup® champions Park Place leaned on the combination of Britos and Ulloa to take their first match 13-10 against Coca-Cola. Overcoming a slow start, Dutta Corp/Show+ forced overtime as Dutta found a gap to drive the ball through the posts for the thrilling 13-12 overtime victory.

Awarded one goal on handicap, Coca-Cola immediately increased the lead to three on a goal from Bensadon. Responding with experience and horsepower, 9-goaler Britos and 10-goaler Ulloa combined for seven goals in the first half, with five coming off the mallet of Ulloa. Despite two more field goals from Bensadon, Coca-Cola’s ability to score only twice in open play, combined with nine fouls committed allowed a confident Park Place to take a commanding 8-4 lead at halftime.

Cody Ellis added two goals for Park Place in the fifth chukker.
Cody Ellis added two goals for Park Place in the fifth chukker.

Opening the second half, Britos continued to find success for Park Place on a phenomenal breakaway, but a re-grouped Coca-Cola began to turn the tide. Chipping away at their five-goal deficit, a Penalty 1 and two quick follow-up goals from Johnston and Bensadon cut Park Place’s lead to three. Ellis also added his name to the scoresheet for Park Place, contributing two goals in the fifth, while team captain Ulloa continued to shine, scoring from the field once more to end his day with a team leading eight goals, including shooting a perfect 4 for 4 from the penalty line.

Two more scoring opportunities from Johnston and Bensadon brought Coca-Cola back within striking distance, however, their ability to score only four goals on seventeen shot attempts in open play, swung the balance to Park Place, as they took their first match of the tournament 13-10.

Rufino Bensadon accounted for six of Coca-Cola's ten goals, including four from the penalty line.
Rufino Bensadon accounted for six of Coca-Cola's ten goals, including four from the penalty line.

Entering the C.V. Whitney Cup® as the only 20-goal team, La Fe began play with two goals on handicap against the 22-goal Dutta Corp/Show+. Not to be hindered by their lower rating, La Fe’s debut kicked-off on an exceptional note, scoring five unanswered goals, including two from Elizalde at the penalty line and one from the field to take a seven-goal lead.

With all the momentum heavily in favor of La Fe, Dutta Corp/Show+ relied on experience from their previous game against Scone to mount a steady comeback. A goal from each Dutta Corp/Show+ player in the second and third chukkers helped to offset goals from Elizalde and Diaz Alberdi, with Dutta Corp/Show+ applying pressure right until the horn to cut their deficit in half and trail 8-4 at the break.

Dutta Corp-Show+ Tomas Garcia del Rio shot 78% from the penalty line.
Dutta Corp-Show+ Tomas Garcia del Rio shot 78% from the penalty line.

Jumping on the play immediately to open the second half, Diaz Alberdi mounted a strong response to Dutta Corp/Show+’s strong push on a breakaway goal. Continuing to step up for Dutta Corp/Show+, a Penalty 2 from Garcia del Rio, followed by an open shot from Dutta helped put the team back into contention. Despite three goals from La Fe, including one from strident defender Devaleix, La Fe’s once mighty lead had dwindled to just two goals at the beginning of the sixth chukker.

Showcasing a clean game with just ten fouls combined, La Fe sent 78% penalty shooter Tomas Garcia del Rio to the line for two back-to-back Penalty 2’s, making all the difference to tie the game 12-all and send the match into overtime. Set for an extra chukker of play, both teams initially struggled for possession, but Dutta finally created enough space on the field and took the ball to goal to complete the comeback and end the contested battle 13-12 for Dutta Corp/Show+.

Dutta Corp-Show+'s Ignacio "Inaki" Laprida hits a neckshot alongside La Fe's Lucas Diaz Alberdi. ©David Lominska
Dutta Corp-Show+'s Ignacio "Inaki" Laprida hits a neckshot alongside La Fe's Lucas Diaz Alberdi. ©David Lominska

*Nico Escobar and Timmy Dutta are Active Team USPA Members. Cody Ellis 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 courtesy of ©David Lominska.

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