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PARK PLACE AND SCONE CARRY STRONG PLAY INTO USPA GOLD CUP®

Mar 15, 2021 2:52 PM

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Scone's Peke Gonzalez running ahead of Santa Clara in their opening game of the USPA Gold Cup®. ©David Lominska
Scone's Peke Gonzalez running ahead of Santa Clara in their opening game of the USPA Gold Cup®. ©David Lominska

Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach

As the only team remaining that can capture the GAUNTLET OF POLO®, Park Place (Jack Whitman*, Juan Britos, Hilario Ulloa, Matt Coppola*) continued their elite play from the C.V. Whitney Cup®, capturing the 11-6 victory over Cessna (Camp Campbell, Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario, Mariano Obregon, Jared Zenni*) in their first game of the USPA Gold Cup®. Scone (David Paradice, Poroto Cambiaso, Peke Gonzalez*, Adolfo Cambiaso) followed with a successful debut, bouncing back from the heart-breaking overtime loss in the C.V. Whitney Cup® Final to defeat Santa Clara (Will Johnston, Felipe Vercellino, Miguel Novillo Astrada, Luis Escobar) 13-8 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida.

Just four days after their exhilarating victory in the C.V. Whitney Cup®, Park Place used the first half to rediscover their form, ultimately coming to life at the start of the second half. Producing an even eight shot attempts each in the first half, Park Place outshot Cessna 16-2 over the final three chukkers by dominating possession and leaving their opponents with little opportunity to match them. Ulloa gave another strong performance for Park Place with a game-high six goals, pushing their win streak to five in the GAUNTLET OF POLO®.

Cessna's Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario locked in a ride-off with Park Place's Matt Coppola. ©Alex Pacheco
Cessna's Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario locked in a ride-off with Park Place's Matt Coppola. ©Alex Pacheco

With new addition Edward ‘Camp’ Campbell, replacing his father Chip, Cessna got off to a quick start behind the play of Ferrario, who accounted for both Cessna goals in the opening chukker. Organized play off the ball, Cessna kept Park Place off the scoreboard until the second chukker when Coppola began to make an impact coming forward in the game, scoring one goal and assisting on another to tie the game 2-all. With very few whistles to stop play, Cessna and Park Place continued to battle in open play, Cessna finishing the first half with a 4-2 lead with three of their goals coming from Ferrario.

The momentum of the game instantly switched at the start of the second half with Park Place finding their momentum that carried them through the C.V. Whitney Cup®. Scoring four unanswered goals in the fourth chukker in a complete team performance, Park Place quicky doubled their goal total from the first half in just seven minutes to take their first lead of the game. With the ball continuing to stay in the offensive half for Park Place, they extended their run to six goals before Obregon finally ended the stretch. Heavily outshooting Cessna, Park Place’s Ulloa completed a dominant second half, scoring all three goals in the sixth chukker to capture the 11-6 victory.

Park Place's Hilario Ulloa trying to avoid the hook from Cessna's Jared Zenni. ©David Lominska
Park Place's Hilario Ulloa trying to avoid the hook from Cessna's Jared Zenni. ©David Lominska

In the second game, Scone showcased a versatile offense that dominated from the field in the first half and moved to the penalty line in the second half, scoring five of their six goals to overwhelm Santa Clara. Gonzalez finished a perfect six for six from the penalty line, all from the 30 and 40-yard lines while Adolfo Cambiaso displayed the proficient passing ability that led his team’s efficient attack in the convincing five-goal victory.

Wasting little time from the opening throw-in, Scone pressured Santa Clara with a textbook play from Adolfo Cambiaso, as Poroto Cambiaso and Gonzalez cleared space for the 10-goaler who hit a perfect pass to Gonzalez to open the scoring. Building a quick 3-0 lead, Scone kept Santa Clara pinned in their defensive half early, relying on the scoring from Poroto Cambiaso and Gonzalez. A renewed fight from Santa Clara in the second chukker, led by a goal and an assist from Vercellino cut the deficit to two, but the end of the half displayed Scone’s father-son duo at their best. Finishing the half shooting six for eight from the field, Scone received two goals from Poroto Cambiaso, both on the receiving end of passes from Adolfo Cambiaso to end the half with a 7-4 lead.

Scone's Adolfo Cambiaso reaching for the hook on Santa Clara's Felipe Vercellino. ©David Lominska
Scone's Adolfo Cambiaso reaching for the hook on Santa Clara's Felipe Vercellino. ©David Lominska

With the ball primarily kept moving in open play, the pace of the game slowed in the second half as Santa Clara fought to make any Scone scoring chance difficult, but the result was foul trouble that sent Gonzalez to the penalty line. Three Penalty 2 conversions along with a Penalty 3 conversion for Gonzalez over the fourth and fifth chukkers gave Scone a commanding six-goal lead as Santa Clara struggled to keep Scone away from their own goal. Despite three goals each from Vercellino and Astrada, as well as scoring in every chukker, Santa Clara could not match the offensive firepower of Scone who won 13-8.

*Peke Gonzalez and Jack Whitman are Active Team USPA Members. Matt Coppola and Jared Zenni are Graduating Team USPA Members. 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.

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