Tue

Oct

19

NATIONAL PRESIDENT'S CUP

New Bridge Polo & Country Club

3:00 PM UTC

Field One

SD Farms

Tue

Oct

19

NATIONAL PRESIDENT'S CUP

New Bridge Polo & Country Club

8:00 PM UTC

Tipler Law/Cooper H&S

SIG/Chukkers of Hope

Thu

Oct

21

DELEGATE'S CUP

Houston Polo Club - sf

9:30 PM UTC

Bearsden/ Plank Companies

Rocking P

Thu

Oct

21

DELEGATE'S CUP

Houston Polo Club - sf

9:30 PM UTC

BCI/ CW Petroleum

Vintage Polo

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Tue

Oct

19

NATIONAL PRESIDENT'S CUP

New Bridge Polo & Country Club

3:00 PM UTC

Field One

SD Farms

Tue

Oct

19

NATIONAL PRESIDENT'S CUP

New Bridge Polo & Country Club

8:00 PM UTC

Tipler Law/Cooper H&S

SIG/Chukkers of Hope

Thu

Oct

21

DELEGATE'S CUP

Houston Polo Club - sf

9:30 PM UTC

Bearsden/ Plank Companies

Rocking P

Thu

Oct

21

DELEGATE'S CUP

Houston Polo Club - sf

9:30 PM UTC

BCI/ CW Petroleum

Vintage Polo

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PILOT REMAINS UNDEFEATED AS SEMIFINALS SET IN U.S. OPEN POLO CHAMPIONSHIP®

Apr 13, 2021 2:31 PM

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Pilot's Gonzalito Pieres reaching out for the ball on U.S. Polo Assn Field 1. ©David Lominska
Pilot's Gonzalito Pieres reaching out for the ball on U.S. Polo Assn Field 1. ©David Lominska

Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach

Rain postponed the remaining U.S. Open Polo Championship® Quarterfinal on Sunday, April 11, but after the skies cleared on Monday, April 12 , play resumed as Pilot (Curtis Pilot, Kristos ‘Keko’ Magrini*, Gonzalito Pieres, Facundo Pieres) and Aspen/Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta*, Gringo Colombres, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Stewart Armstrong) battled for the last spot in the semifinals. A hard-fought match came down to the final seconds but a sixth chukker charge for Aspen/Dutta Corp fell a goal short resulting in Pilot securing the fourth and final place in the semifinals with a 12-11 victory.

On opposite ends of the spectrum with Pilot entering the game undefeated and Aspen/Dutta Corp playing their way into the quarterfinals with a playoff victory over Santa Clara, the outcome was decided by the narrowest of margins. Aspen/Dutta Corp fought until the final horn, producing just as many shot attempts as Pilot but converted one less opportunity at goal. Colombres tried to will his team to victory, scoring five goals and adding three assists in one of Aspen/Dutta Corp’s strongest showings of the season, however Pilot produced two stretches of five consecutive goals that proved too much to overcome as time ran out on Aspen/Dutta Corp’s comeback attempt in the 12-11 defeat.

Aspen/Dutta Corp's Gringo Colombres dribbling in between Pilot's two 10-goalers. ©Alex Pacheco
Aspen/Dutta Corp's Gringo Colombres dribbling in between Pilot's two 10-goalers. ©Alex Pacheco

In the restart on Monday, the game picked up with three minutes remaining in the opening chukker and zeroes on the scoreboard until Aspen/Dutta Corp’s Dutta ended the chukker with a goal off a pass from Colombres. Taking the chukker break to find their footing, Pilot stormed out of the gate in the second chukker, led by the play of Facundo Pieres. Converting two Penalty 2’s, along with a field goal and an assist, Facundo Pieres contributed on all four Pilot goals in a dominant 4-0 chukker that swung momentum in their favor. Aspen/Dutta Corp tried to pull closer by halftime, pressuring Pilot and shooting at goal five times in the third chukker, but inaccurate shooting kept them behind by two, trailing 5-3.

Aspen/Dutta Corp's Lucas Diaz Alberdi finished with three games in the narrow defeat. ©Alex Pacheco
Aspen/Dutta Corp's Lucas Diaz Alberdi finished with three goals in the narrow defeat. ©Alex Pacheco

A lightning quick pace was set at the start of the second half as both teams looked to utilize their horsepower to take control of the game. A goal from Gonzalito Pieres extended Pilot’s lead to three, but it was short-lived due to a proficient attack from Aspen/Dutta Corp that was led by Alberdi. Adding two goals from the field, Alberdi quickly brought the game even at 6-all and provided a spark for an awakened Aspen/Dutta Corp team. Pilot turned to their duo of Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres for a response, scoring back-to-back goals to end the fourth chukker and restore their lead, one which they improved on in the fifth chukker.

Completing a run of five unanswered goals, Pilot seemed to secure the victory, holding an 11-6 lead with just one chukker remaining, but with their season on the line, Aspen/Dutta Corp made one more push against the reigning U.S. Open Polo Championship® champions. All four players pushed forward to pressure the Pilot defense and it was the duo of Colombres and Dutta that began their comeback with a relentless attack. Scoring two goals each, Aspen/Dutta Corp still trailed by two entering the final minutes as they continued to keep the ball in Pilot’s territory. The 30-second horn sounded and Alberdi scored his third goal of the game for Aspen/Dutta Corp, but time expired as Pilot survived the late push and advanced to the semifinals with the 12-11 victory.

Pilot's Keko Magrini flying to goal with Aspen/Dutta Corp's Stewart Armstrong chasing from behind. ©David Lominska
Pilot's Keko Magrini flying to goal with Aspen/Dutta Corp's Stewart Armstrong in pursuit. ©David Lominska

After the match, a draw was done for the semifinal match-ups and Pilot will face Scone at 11:00am ET, while Park Place will meet La Indiana at 4:00pm ET on Thursday, April 15 with the winners advancing to the U.S. Open Polo Championship® Final.

*Timmy Dutta and Kristos Magrini are Active 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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