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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TIBURON NAMED SOUTHWESTERN CIRCUIT INTRA-CIRCUIT CUP CHAMPIONS

Oct 26, 2020 6:24 PM

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Story courtesy of Scott Lancaster/Willow Bend Polo Club.

2020 Southwestern Circuit Intra-Circuit Cup Champions: Tiburon - Collen Clark, Alejandro Gonzalez, Matt Coppola, Rob Stenzel. presented by Claire Dornak.
2020 Southwestern Circuit Intra-Circuit Cup Champions: Tiburon - Collen Clark, Alejandro Gonzalez, Matt Coppola, and Rob Stenzel, presented by Claire Dornak.

Emerging from a field of five teams, Tiburon and Lucchese (John Muse, Leon Schwencke, Sterling Giannico, Agustin Molinas) met in the Southwestern Circuit Intra-Circuit Cup Final at Willow Bend Polo Club in Oak Point, Texas. Tiburon (Collen Clark, Alejandro Gonzalez, Matt Coppola*, Rob Stenzel) went undefeated in league play outscoring 2019 champions Lucchese 9-8.

Tiburon's Matt Coppola and Sterling Giannico of Lucchese lock mallets in an impressive hook.
Tiburon's Matt Coppola and Sterling Giannico of Lucchese lock mallets in an impressive hook.

The stage was set for a thrilling final, played on Sunday, October 18, at the Mokarow Farms North Field. Tiburon scored first on a breakaway by Stenzel, but Giannico answered swiftly for Lucchese to tie the scoreboard at the end of the first chukker. In the second, Lucchese jumped out to their first lead with Molinas scoring from the field, but Gonzalez answered quickly to level the scoreboard. Converting a Penalty 2, Giannico put Lucchese ahead for the first time with a 3-2 advantage. Consistently striking for his team, Giannico was answered by two Tiburon goals in the third from Stenzel and Gonzalez. Proving to be a tight match, both teams entered halftime tied 4-all.

Lucchese's Agustin Molinas breaking through the crowd.
Lucchese's Agustin Molinas breaking through the crowd.

The fourth chukker kept the game even as Gonzalez converted a Penalty 3 for Tiburon which was followed by a run to goal by Molinas. The action heated up in the fifth with an offside shot by Gonzalez splitting the uprights, followed by Coppola connecting on a Penalty 4 to give Tiburon their first two-goal lead of the match. Coming back in the fifth chukker, Lucchese’s Molinas made a 100-yard shot from the sideboards to come within a goal and Giannico tied the scoreboard once again 7-all headed into the last chukker. The sixth saw early goals by both Lucchese and Tiburon resulting in an 8-all tie heading towards the end of the match, but Tiburon converted a crucial game-winning Penalty 2. While Lucchese’s Molinas made one last run, time ran out and Tiburon came away with a 9-8 victory and $2,500 in prize money through the COVID-19 USPA Polo Tournament Stimulus Package.

Tiburon's Matt Coppola heading to goal.
Tiburon's Matt Coppola heading to goal.

Silver, a 15-year-old mare owned and played by Matt Coppola as a spare in the first, third and sixth chukkers was named Best Playing Pony. “I bought her from Sebastian Merlos five years ago,” Coppola said. “I played her as a spare because I knew I could get on her a few different times. She’s the most agile horse I have and every time I get on her I know I can change the game by slowing it down or speeding it up if I have to. Laterally she’s incredible and has an amazing mouth, a machine!”

Tiburon's Rob Stenzel pulls ahead of Lucchese's Leon Schwencke.
Tiburon's Rob Stenzel pulls ahead of Lucchese's Leon Schwencke.

Watching the final, Bernie Uechtritz, team owner of Icon Global Polo Team, commented on the game. “The intensity, fast, open play, and even scoring throughout this match was a reflection and representation of all of the teams, games and the highly competitive level of polo in the 10-goal series here at Willow Bend Polo Club”.

*Matt Coppola is a graduating member of Team USPA. 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 ©Kristin Leigh Armbruster Photography.

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