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SANTA CLARA WINS 2021 DEBUT IN JOE BARRY MEMORIAL

Jan 11, 2021 1:28 PM

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Santa Clara's Lucas Escobar engaged in a ride-off with Beverly Polo's Lucas Diaz Alberdi.
Santa Clara's Lucas Escobar engaged in a ride-off with Beverly Polo's Lucas Diaz Alberdi.

Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach.

For the second consecutive game in the 2021 Joe Barry Memorial, Beverly Polo (Bill Ballhaus, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Jorge “Tolito” Fernandez Ocampo Jr., Hilario Figueras) found themselves in overtime, this time against Santa Clara (Kristos “Keko” Magrini*, Lucas Escobar*, Luis Escobar, Matias Magrini) at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. After tying the game in the final seconds, Santa Clara’s Keko Magrini scored the golden goal just one minute and 45 seconds into overtime, securing the 11-10 victory on U.S. Polo Assn- Field 1.

Santa Clara, featuring two father-son duos between the Magrinis and Escobars, excelled in their first game of the season, led by the young sons Kristos Magrini and Lucas Escobar, who finished with four and five total goals respectively. Shooting an efficient 67% from the field, Santa Clara overcame a slow start to challenge Beverly Polo that relied on the penalty shooting of Ocampo Jr. and four field goals from Alberdi. Late foul trouble for both teams sent the game to the penalty line, but after late penalty conversions for both teams an exciting run to goal by Santa Clara captured the 11-10 victory.

Santa Clara's Matias Magrini hitting a neckshot.
Santa Clara's Matias Magrini hitting a neckshot.

Conceding one goal on handicap, Santa Clara quickly erased the deficit, marching downfield from a knock-in to tie the game 1-all on a goal from Lucas Escobar. Beverly Polo controlled play throughout the rest of the opening chukker, producing four shots at goal but converting just one, while adding one goal from the penalty line to hold the 3-1 advantage. The continued pressure of Beverly Polo extended their lead further, led by the efforts of two field goals from Alberdi in his best game of the season so far. A Penalty 4 conversion for Kristos Magrini ignited some momentum for Santa Clara as they pulled within one on Luis Escobar’s first goal of the game. Ocampo Jr. edged Beverly Polo back ahead by two to end the first half with his team holding the 6-4 lead.

Santa Clara's Keko Magrini running with the ball and pressured by Beverly Polo's Lucas Diaz Alberdi.
Santa Clara's Keko Magrini running with the ball and pressured by Beverly Polo's Lucas Diaz Alberdi.

Missing just one shot in the first half, Santa Clara carried their accurate shooting into the second half while generating more opportunities at goal, helping them bring the game even. Luis and Lucas Escobar combined for three goals in the fourth chukker, turning a two-goal deficit into a tied 7-all score with two chukkers remaining. The game moved to the penalty line over the final two chukkers as the hard-fought game resulted in six penalty attempts between the two teams in the final stages. Relying on their two young players, Santa Clara remained even with Beverly Polo on conversions from Lucas Escobar and Kristos Magrini, while Beverly Polo’s Ocampo Jr. scored from the field and the penalty line, leaving the game deadlocked 9-all. As the clock ticked down, Ocampo Jr. converted a crucial Penalty 4, leaving Beverly Polo just minutes from their second victory, but with seconds left Santa Clara was sent to the penalty line with an opportunity to send the game into overtime. The initial penalty attempt from Lucas Escobar went wide but was tipped in front of goal and finished by Kristos Magrini, sending the game into overtime on the final play of regulation.

Withstanding an early Beverly Polo attack, Santa Clara’s long pass downfield started an open run to goal with a chance to win the game. Fighting a bouncing ball, Santa Clara left the ball in front of goal until Kristos Magrini came through for a second time, sending a shot through the goal and securing the 11-10 overtime win for Santa Clara. For his four-goal performance, Ocampo Jr. was awarded Most Valuable Player while Matias Magrini’s Don Ercole Elite captured Best Playing Pony.

Santa Clara's Luis Escobar and Matias Magrini celebrate their victory.
Santa Clara's Luis Escobar and Matias Magrini celebrate their victory.

The Joe Barry Memorial continues on Wednesday, January 13, with Palm Beach Equine (0-1) facing Santa Clara (1-0) to determine the finalists. The game will be livestreamed exclusively on Global Polo TV at 3:00pm ET.

*Kristos “Keko” Magrini and Lucas Escobar 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.

All photos courtesy of ©David Lominska.

USPA

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