Apr 12, 2021 3:25 PM

Tonkawa's Sapo Caset reaching out for the hook on Scone's Peke Gonzalez. ©Alex Pacheco
Tonkawa's Sapo Caset reaching for the hook on Scone's Peke Gonzalez. ©Alex Pacheco

Story courtesy of International Polo Club Palm Beach

The completion of the 2021 U.S. Open Polo Championship® Quarterfinals at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (Wellington, Florida) was put on hold after the postponement of the last quarterfinal between Aspen/Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta*, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Gringo Colombres, Stewart Armstrong) and Pilot (Curtis Pilot, Kristos ‘Keko’ Magrini*, Gonzalito Pieres, Facundo Pieres) in the feature game of the week on the U.S. Polo Assn Field 1. Earlier in the day, Scone (David Paradice, Poroto Cambiaso, Peke Gonzalez*, Adolfo Cambiaso) used a strong first half to withstand a second half push from Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Lucas Escobar*, Sapo Caset, Francisco Elizalde) to capture the 10-6 victory and join La Indiana and Park Place in the semifinals.

Scone's Poroto Cambiaso protecting the ball on the nearside against Tonkawa's Lucas Escobar. ©David Lominska
Scone's Poroto Cambiaso protecting the ball on the nearside against Tonkawa's Lucas Escobar. ©David Lominska

A well-rounded Scone performance featured an organized defense that limited the potent Tonkawa offense to six goals and GAUNTLET OF POLO® scoring leader Caset to just four goals. Utilizing their trio of Adolfo Cambiaso, Poroto Cambiaso and Gonzalez effectively, Scone emerged victorious. The trio finished with at least three goals each in an accurate attack from the field, but two for six shooting from the penalty line provided Tonkawa with an opportunity to work their way into the game. Facing Scone for the first time since the USPA Gold Cup® Final, Tonkawa was unable to avenge the loss as missed opportunities around goal on 25% shooting proved to be the difference in the game.

A hard-fought opening chukker resulted in opportunities for both teams. Scone scored first after a Penalty 4 was blocked, leading to a safety opportunity that was converted by Adolfo Cambiaso. Elizalde scored toward the tail end of the first chukker, seemingly leaving the two teams tied at the first break, but Poroto Cambiaso struck before time expired to restore Scone’s one goal advantage. After Adolfo Cambiaso and Caset traded goals in an even second chukker, the game completely changed in a decisive third chukker that defined the remainder of the match.

Controlling the ball from the opening throw-in, Scone separated themselves from Tonkawa, beginning with a pass from Poroto Cambiaso that set up his father Adolfo Cambiaso to extend the lead to two. Adding a field goal each from Gonzalez and Poroto Cambiaso, Scone produced a complete team-performance in a 3-0 third chukker that led them into halftime with the 6-2 lead.

A determined Tonkawa team looked to improve their accuracy at goal and slowly chip away at the four-goal deficit, holding Scone to just one goal over the fourth and fifth chukkers. Trying to maintain their lead, Scone prevented any breakaway runs for Tonkawa in a tightly-marked game, but the increased pressure from Tonkawa pushed their offense to the penalty line.

Scone's Peke Gonzalez hitting a nearside neckshot towards goal. ©David Lominska
Scone's Peke Gonzalez hitting a nearside neckshot towards goal. ©David Lominska

Caset converted two of his three penalty attempts to help bring the gap to just two goals entering the final chukker in the tense quarterfinal. A late foul for Tonkawa to end the fifth chukker resulted in a Penalty 2 conversion for Gonzalez as Scone turned their attention to the defensive end. Trying to attack goal, Caset provided a response for Tonkawa, but as they pushed forward, Scone was able to slip in behind their defense, scoring two final goals to secure the 10-6 victory and grab the third spot in the semifinals.

The last quarterfinal between Aspen/Dutta Corp and Pilot on the U.S. Polo Assn Field 1 began under difficult weather conditions and was quickly postponed, leaving the last semifinalist to be determined when play resumes on Monday, April 12 at 4:00pm ET.

*Timmy Dutta, Kristos Magrini, Lucas Escobar and Peke Gonzalez 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.