Sunday, Feb. 18 was quarterfinal day at the International Polo Club Palm Beach with eight teams fighting for a place in the next stage of the Ylvisaker Cup, the final 20-goal tournament of the season.
During the 3 p.m. featured match, GSA defeated Pilot 10-9 on the Engel & Volkers main field, in what was a vibrant and evenly paired game.
Pilot (Curtis Pilot, Timmy Dutta, Gonzalo Pieres and Facundo Pieres) secured a 6-3 advantage by the beginning of the fifth chukker, but Mariano González came through for GSA (Henry Porter, Dylan Rossiter, Mariano González and Matías Magrini) to put his team within one goal.
The game came to a head in the sixth chukker, when GSA took control of the match to go up by one goal.
With two minutes left, GSA widened their advantage to 10-8. The team managed to survive Gonzalo Pieres’s 30-yard penalty conversion and hold Pilot off until the bell.
The match ended 10-9 in favor of GSA, with six goals scored in the thrilling sixth chukker.
“It was a tough game,” Gonzalez said. “The first two chukkers were OK, not great, and in the third chukker, [Pilot] grabbed the ball, and we couldn’t find it for a chukker and a half at least. We were able to get organized again in the fifth chukker and turn the game around. Our plan worked at first, but the guys on Pilot are smart and adapted to it, which is why we couldn’t get the ball in those middle chukkers. We changed our plan in the fifth and that worked enough, and we held the lead to the end.”
Macarena, played by Gonzalez, won the Best Playing Pony award, while Gonzalez himself was named as the Most Valuable Player.
Prior to the 3 p.m. match, Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Sterling Giannico, Sapo Caset and Julian de Lusaretta) beat La Indiana (Michael Bickford, Toro Ruiz, Facundo Obregon and Jeff Hall) 12-11 on Field 5.
Colorado (Rob Jornyvaz, Juan Britos, Diego Cavanagh and Santino Magrini) edged Postage Stamp (Annabelle Gundlach, Brandon Phillips, Mariano Aguerre and Kris Kampsen) 13-10 at the other 10 a.m. match on Field 3.
At noon, Valiente (Bob Jornyvaz, Bautista Panelo, Santi Torres and Adolfo Cambiaso) easily defeated SD Farms (Sayyu Dantata, Adam Snow, Inaki Laprida and Peco Polledo) 13-6 on Field 4.
The Ylvisaker Cup final will take place Sunday, Feb. 25. The tournament honors the legendary polo figure William Ylvisaker.
For more information about the International Polo Club Palm Beach, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.