The final day of bracket play in the C.V. Whitney Cup on Sunday, Feb. 16 featured three games, as the final six teams jockeyed for a position in the semi-finals. Patagones improved to a 2-0 record after narrowly defeating Daily Racing Form 9-8, while Coca-Cola produced a strong showing in the 11-9 victory over Equuleus. In the feature game of the week, La Indiana secured a spot in the semis, defeating Cessna 11-9.
In the opening game of the day, Patagones and Daily Racing Form battled into the final chukker, with Patagones holding on for the narrow victory, despite shooting just three-for-eight from the penalty line. Relying on the duo of Tomas Garcia del Rio and Santiago Toccalino, who combined for eight of the team’s nine goals, Patagones had enough additional possessions due to Daily Racing Form foul trouble to capture the victory.
Daily Racing Form took the early 3-1 lead behind the efforts of Jared Zenni, keeping Patagones pinned in their own half for most of the first chukker. Garcia del Rio brought Patagones into the lead, scoring three goals from the field before the end of the first half. Converting just one of their final five shots, Daily Racing Form was fortunate to be tied 5-5 at halftime.
An organized Patagones team dominated possession to begin the second half, holding Daily Racing Form to just one shot attempt over the fourth and fifth chukkers. After Costi Caset gave Daily Racing Form a 6-5 lead, Patagones responded with a run of four unanswered goals, three off the mallet of Toccalino to hold a commanding 9-6 advantage with just one chukker remaining. Consecutive goals from Zenni gave Daily Racing Form hope to capture a win, but time ran out on the comeback in the 9-8 defeat.
An exciting match between Coca-Cola and Equuleus showcased two evenly matched teams, but a strong finish from Coca-Cola secured the victory. Nico Pieres and Julian de Lusarreta provided a dynamic duo for Coca-Cola, while newcomer Aiden Meeker performed admirably with three goals for Equuleus. A back-and-forth start to the game saw the two teams trade goals in the first two chukkers. Tied at 3-3, Equuleus took the lead after a penalty 2 conversion from Mariano Gonzalez and Meeker’s second goal to hold a narrow 5-4 lead.
Foul trouble for Equuleus provided Coca-Cola with an opportunity to pull even in the match, shooting a perfect three-for-three from the penalty line over the fourth and fifth chukkers. Equuleus added two penalty conversions of their own, leaving the score tied at 8-8 heading into the final chukker. Highlighting his strong performance in the game, de Lusarreta scored two goals in quick succession to start the sixth chukker, giving Coca-Cola the advantage. Finding an opportune time for his first goal of the game, Steve Krueger sealed the 11-9 victory for Coca-Cola.
In the final match of the day on U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1, a persistent offense from La Indiana saw them record at least one field goal in all six chukkers, while Cessna couldn’t overcome inaccurate shooting.
Holding a one-goal advantage on handicap, Cessna extended that lead on goals from Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario and Felipe Marquez. Facing a three-goal deficit, Jeff Hall was instrumental in bringing La Indiana back into the game, scoring his team’s first three goals on quick runs past the Cessna defense. A penalty 2 conversion from Polito Pieres tied the score at 4-4, and La Indiana continuing the momentum to hold a 6-4 advantage at the half.
Cessna’s offense continued to struggle from the field, but they added three penalty goals from Nicolas Saenz in the second half. Pieres maintained La Indiana’s two-goal lead in the fourth chukker, as two yellow cards for Marquez gave La Indiana an extra man on the field. Despite five fouls in the final chukker, La Indiana held on for the 11-9 victory, advancing to the semi-finals.
The C.V. Whitney Cup will draw to an exciting conclusion this weekend. For more info., visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.