Iconica Nabs Key Super-Series Spot With Ylvisaker Cup Victory

Ylvisaker Cup Champions — Iconica’s Maureen Brennan, Mariano “Peke” Gonzalez, Lucas “Luckitas” Criado Jr. and Santos Merlos. Photo by David Lominska

On Sunday, Feb. 12, the Ylvisaker Cup final rounded out the second leg of the Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series with an encounter between Joe Barry Memorial champions Iconica (Maureen Brennan, Mariano “Peke” Gonzalez, Lucas “Luckitas” Criado Jr. and Santos Merlos) and undefeated Dundas (Sarah Siegel-Magness, Geronimo Obregon, Paco “Paquito” de Narvaez Jr. and Tomas Panelo).

Iconica’s familiarity and faith in one another helped create an early advantage, which they maintained throughout the entire game. Dundas battled back into contention by halftime, but Iconica owned the second half to ride away with the 13-7 victory. Marking their second win in the Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series, Iconica’s combined wins in the Joe Barry Memorial and the Ylvisaker Cup earned them a guaranteed place in the inaugural Super-Series Championship Final, which will take place in early April.

As the two teams entered the final, the Iconica foursome was fresh off of a win in the Joe Barry Memorial and held strong to an impressive 3-1 record. Dundas remained undefeated with a 4-0 record and delivered Iconica their only loss of the tournament with a 13-10 victory early in bracket play.

Of the 16 talented teams that competed throughout the tournament, team owners Brennan and Siegel-Magness were two of the three women competing, emerging from the same bracket. Despite struggling in their first match-up with Dundas, Iconica remained confident in their strategy going into the final.

“When we didn’t make mistakes, we controlled the game. We didn’t make a lot of them, but when we did, I feel like that’s how [Dundas] scored,” Brennan said.

In the opening chukker, Iconica created early momentum with three unanswered goals, giving the team a 3-0 advantage over Dundas. Criado and Gonzalez added two more goals in the second, but were matched by a two-goal response from Panelo and another score from Obregon to close the gap.

“We had me pushing forward to have the guys creating space behind, and then sending the long ball to me,” Gonzalez said.

Iconica leading 5-3, the third chukker offered a similar back-and-forth. The two teams traded goals, with all three of Dundas’ scores off the mallet of Panelo. A field goal from Criado and a Penalty 1 in favor of Iconica kept the Joe Barry Memorial champions in the lead 7-6 at the break.

With the second half starting and the Iconica strategy stronger than ever, Criado quickly found the goal twice in the fourth to extend Iconica’s lead. A single score from de Narvaez for Dundas ended the chukker 9-7 in favor of Iconica. A strong defensive presence from Iconica in the fifth and sixth chukkers resulted in a complete Dundas shutout, with Gonzalez scoring his fourth of the day while Criado ended the final chukker with two field goals and a successful penalty conversion to give Iconica a decisive 13-7 advantage as the final horn sounded.

Criado was thrilled to have secured another victory in the Super-Series.

“We feel very good because it’s our second win and it puts us in the final of the Super-Series,” he said. “It means a lot because it took a little bit of the pressure off, but, of course, we want to keep winning and doing our best.”

For his seven-goal performance, Criado was named Most Valuable Player, while 10-year-old Argentine bay mare Incari Citadina (Guadalupe), played by Peke Gonzalez and owned by Iconica Polo, was awarded Best Playing Pony honors.

As the Ylvisaker Cup ends, Iconica’s Criado and Gonzalez begin the Gauntlet of Polo, both playing for Valiente alongside Adolfo Cambiaso.