Mar 21, 2022 1:21 PM

Facundo Pieres scored eight goals in Pilot's victory over Dutta Corp/Show+ in the USPA Gold Cup® quarterfinals at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. ©David Lominska
Facundo Pieres scored eight goals in Pilot's victory over Dutta Corp/Show+ 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.

Wrapping up the USPA Gold Cup® quarterfinals at International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida, Sunday’s tripleheader began with Tamera (Alejandro Poma, Segundo Saravi, Christian "Magoo" Laprida, Diego Cavanagh) defeating Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream (Santino Magrini*, Matias Magrini, Joaquin Panelo, Stevie Orthwein, sub. Martin "Facha" Valent) 14-8.

Resuming play for the second game of the day at La Indiana, a dominant Pilot (Curtis Pilot, Mackenzie Weisz, Matias Torres Zavaleta, Facundo Pieres) led by captain Pieres, topped Dutta Corp/Show+ (Timmy Dutta*, Joaquin Avendano, Tomas Garcia del Rio, Ignacio "Inaki" Laprida) 13-7.

The featured game of the week on U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1 saw reigning USPA Gold Cup® champions Scone (David Paradice, Kristos "Keko" Magrini*, Poroto Cambiaso, Adolfo Cambiaso) take the field against Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Nico Escobar*, Nico Pieres, Julian de Lusarreta). Led by father-son duo of Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso, Scone built an early lead, but as heavy rain began to fall, the match was rained out at halftime with Scone ahead 7-3, leaving the remainder to be played on Monday.

Each holding a 1-2 record, Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream and Tamera kicked off the action on Field 5, with Orthwein striking first for Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream in the opening minute of play. Following a strong response from Tamera’s Laprida and Saravi, the two teams began a heated back-and-forth battle trading five goals for a slim 5-3 Tamera lead. Despite Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream committing 10 fouls in the first half of play, Tamera was only able to capitalize twice on six penalty shots, keeping their opponents in contention as Tamera took a narrow 5-4 advantage into the break.

Opening the second half with Matias Magrini’s second successful conversion from the line, Old Hickory Bourbon managed to tie the game 6-all, but despite another goal in the fourth off the mallet of Matias Magrini, the chukker firmly belonged to Tamera. Finally breaking the contested match open from the field, Tamera’s Saravi, Poma and Laprida combined for four goals to create much needed separation from Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream with a three-goal lead. Following an injury to Santino Magrini and substitution of Martin “Facha” Valent, Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream was suddenly faced with the task of readjusting their strategy on the fly against a firing Tamera.

Carrying their momentum into the final chukkers of play, Saravi hit his fifth goal of the day, while 83% field shooter and team captain Diego Cavanagh capped off a successful day with his fourth. Getting his name on the scoreboard for the first time in the match, Joaquin Panelo answered for Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream on a Penalty 2 conversion and a field goal late in the sixth chukker. Despite Panelo’s final push, the dominance of Tamera doubling Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream in both field shots and goals made the difference, as Tamera took their place in semifinals with a 14-8 victory.

Playing the second match of the day at La Indiana, two undefeated teams in Pilot and Dutta Corp/Show+ battled in a high-scoring contest. Laprida found the posts first for Dutta Corp/Show+, however, the back-and-forth match resulted in a quick answer from Pilot’s 10-goaler Pieres and Weisz. Leading Pilot with forty-eight goals and only second to Park Place’s Ulloa in the GAUNTLET for top scorer, Pieres’ early success saw him find the goal twice more in the first half. Answering in stride for Dutta Corp/Show+, a team effort from Avendano, Garcia del Rio and Dutta pulled the score to within one goal, to trail Pilot 5-4 at halftime.

Re-emerging with a charge, Pieres dominated the fourth chukker scoring three consecutive goals from the field to provide Pilot with their first separation of the game and a four-goal lead. Temporarily stopping the run for Pilot, Laprida managed to hit the posts for his first goal since the opening chukker, however the momentum had shifted firmly in Pilot’s direction, as Weisz and Pieres worked in tandem once again to double up their opponents 10-5.

Committing only five fouls between the two teams, Pilot’s ability to keep Garcia del Rio off the line resulted in a match decided largely on the strength of Pilot on the field, resulting in two more goals between Zavaleta and Weisz. Capping off a successful day with five goals out of eight shots, the power of Pieres and strong team play throughout the match allowed Pilot to capture the 13-7 win and remain undefeated entering the semifinals.

*Timmy Dutta and Kristos "Keko" Magrini are Active Team USPA Members. Santino Magrini and Nico Escobar 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.