The final 18-goal game of the season at the International Polo Club Palm Beach featured a dramatic finish between La Indiana and Patagones to determine the 2020 Ylvisaker Cup champion on Sunday, Feb. 2. Surviving a late comeback from La Indiana, Patagones captured the thrilling 9-8 victory on the U.S Polo Assn. Field 1 in the final seconds.
A tense final saw both teams challenge the ball with high-pressure defenses, unwilling to concede easy opportunities around the goal. The tightly marked game resulted in the majority of the offense coming from the penalty line, as La Indiana and Patagones both finished with five conversions on six penalty attempts.
Tasked with slowing La Indiana’s attack, Santiago Toccalino was kept on the defensive end, but four combined field goals from the trio of Joaquin Avendano, Benjamin Avendano and Santiago Wulff gave Patagones an advantage early in the game. A slow start from La Indiana left them fighting from behind, and a late push wasn’t enough to overcome the first half deficit.
A consistent presence offensively throughout the tournament, Joaquin Avendano opened the scoring for Patagones, while a key penalty four conversion for Toccalino gave his team the quick 2-0 lead. Foul trouble hindered La Indiana in the opening half. They committed eight fouls compared to just three for Patagones, giving Patagones the possession advantage. Field goals from Santiago Gomez Romero and Jeff Hall proved to be the only scoring for La Indiana over the first three chukkers. Toccalino’s conversion on a spot hit from a distance extended Patagones’ lead back to two. Trading penalties, neither team was able to find the goal on numerous attempts, leaving the low-scoring game at 4-2 entering the second half.
Tournament scoring leader, Facundo Obregon scored his first goal of the game in the fourth chukker on a penalty two conversion, but the remainder of the chukker was in Patagones’ favor. As time was expiring in the fourth chukker, Benjamin Avendano completed a run to goal to push Patagones’ lead to three, with La Indiana’s inability to generate offense from the field keeping them behind on the scoreboard.
The outcome was left to be decided on the penalty line as Patagones found themselves in foul trouble for the first time in the game. Converting consecutive penalty attempts, Obregon cut the deficit to two, but then La Indiana conceded two penalty goals of their own, leaving Patagones with a commanding 8-5 lead and just one chukker between them and the Ylvisaker Cup title.
Toccalino’s fifth penalty conversion seemed to all but seal the victory for Patagones, but La Indiana was unwilling to quit, producing a relentless attack that pressured the Patagones defense. Romero’s second goal was quickly followed by two penalty conversions from Obregon, exciting the spectators, as La Indiana pulled within one goal for the first time since the second chukker.
However, the comeback fell a goal short as Patagones survived the late flurry of goals from La Indiana to capture the 9-8 victory. Santiago Wulff claimed MVP honors, while Best Playing Pony was awarded to Benjamin Avendano’s Conejo.
This week will see the start of the C.V. Whitney Cup, the first leg of the much-anticipated Gauntlet of Polo.
For the full daily game schedule, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.