Mar 20, 2022 1:29 PM

Park Place's Cody Ellis drives the ball downfield alongside La Elina's Jared Zenni in the quarterfinals of the USPA Gold Cup® at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. ©David Lominska
Park Place's Cody Ellis drives the ball downfield La Elina's Jared Zenni reaching for the hook in the USPA Gold Cup® quarterfinals at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. ©David Lominska

Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach.

The quarterfinals began in the USPA Gold Cup® on Saturday at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida, with Park Place (Josh Hyde, Juan Britos, Hilario Ulloa, Cody Ellis*) securing the first place in the semifinals after a 16-10 victory against La Elina (Leo Mandelbaum, Ignacio "Nachi" Viana, Guillermo "Sapo" Caset, Jared Zenni*) on the Isla Carroll West field.

Entering the game with the GAUNTLET’s best offense, Park Place’s attack was on full display in one of their most efficient performances of the year. Shooting 63% with 15 of their 16 goals coming from the field, Park Place received six goals each from their elite duo of Ulloa and Britos, while collectively they produced two runs of six unanswered goals to run away in the game. La Elina attempted to match Park Place in the fast-paced game, but 26% shooting prevented them from challenging late in the second half and resulted in Park Place claiming the 16-10 triumph.

Entering the game with one goal on handicap, La Elina doubled the advantage on a Penalty 2 conversion from Caset in the opening moments of the first chukker. Park Place quickly responded led by the efforts of Ulloa and Ellis who combined for four goals and an assist during a stretch of four consecutive goals that resulted in a 4-2 lead.

Continuing to pressure the La Elina defense, Park Place extended their lead to five after field goals from Ulloa, Ellis and Hyde began the second chukker. The quick pace produced end-to-end polo as La Elina attempted to battle back to even, but the teams exchanged goals throughout the remainder of the first half. Two Penalty 2 conversions for Caset were matched by three field goals from Britos as the horn sounded with Park Place ahead 10-6.

A decisive fourth chukker was instrumental in the outcome as Park Place raced out of the break to score five unanswered goals in a 5-0 chukker. Britos carried his momentum from the end of the first half to score three more goals during the run.

Facing a nine-goal deficit, La Elina displayed urgency in the fifth chukker, shooting at goal nine times, but converted just two, bringing the difference to seven entering the final chukker. Completing their exceptional performance in open play, Britos found Ulloa with a pass for a fifteenth field goal, sending Park Place into the semifinals with a 16-10 victory.

*Cody Ellis is a Graduating Team USPA Member and Jared Zenni is a Team USPA alumnus. 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.