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Valiente, Villa del Lago and Coca-Cola Victorious in Ylvisaker Cup

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Valiente, Villa del Lago and Coca-Cola Victorious in Ylvisaker Cup
WELLINGTON, Fla. - Feb. 14, 2016 - Valiente, Villa del Lago and Coca-Cola were victorious in their games Sunday in the Ylvisaker Cup at International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). Valiente defeated Enigma 13-12 in a thrilling overtime. Villa del Lago was victorious over Audi/Millarville 12-9 and Coca-Cola took a 12-8 win over White Birch.

Tommy Beresford. Photo: David Lominska/Polographics.com
Cambiaso Secures 13-12 Win for Valiente in OT
Adolfo Cambiaso
Photo: David Lominska/Polographics.com
Heading into overtime with the score at 12, the pressure was on, and Valiente was feeling it. Adolfo Cambiaso, who is known to perform best under pressure, gave it all he had: the winning goal and a special horse. Teammate Tommy Beresford had just tied the game with his fourth goal, all from the field, at the end of the sixth chukker. As they sat in the tent during the overtime break, Cambiaso, who later said Beresford had played an astounding game, wore an intense look of concentration, his eyes on the horses being tacked up for the next chukker. "Take that one," he said to Beresford, pointing to a dark bay mare. It was Mermelada (who the team calls Jelly, the English translation), a prized pony in Valiente's string. Cambiaso bought her two years ago from Juan Perez. Beresford had never ridden her before. After expressing gratitude to Cambiaso, he said the 8-year-old mare did her job. "She's very strong, very fast," said Beresford, who started and finished Valiente's scoring in regulation play.
Valiente came into the game strong, with Beresford making the first two goals and Cambiaso right behind him with another. Enigma was scoreless in the first chukker but eventually began chipping away at Valiente's dominance. Captain Jerome Wirth, on a breakaway, zoomed past Beresford and pulled Enigma into a 9-5 lead shortly after halftime. After missing on several penalty shots, Cambiaso (who finished the day 40 percent on his penalties), handed the job to Felipe Viana, who took two penalty shots and scored on both. All told, Cambiaso made five goals, compared with eight in his previous game.
On an incredibly difficult open near side back shot at speed, Matias MacDonough tied the game at 11 with three minutes left in regulation play. Carlucho Arellano played above his average, scoring six goals total, compared to his season average of four. He also went from a season average of 70 percent on his penalty shots to 80 percent in Sunday's game. Arellano kept Engima in the game by retying the score at 12 in the final 30 seconds of play. During the OT break a smiling, relaxed-looking Arellano walked over to his grooms and had a discussion about the horse he would ride in the OT chukker. Cambiaso came through with the winning goal, bringing Valiente's tournament standing to 2-0.

Villa del Lago Takes Audi/Millarville 12-9
Jim Zenni. Photo: David Lominska/Polographics.com 

Nic Roldan
Photo: David Lominska/Polographics.com
Grant Ganzi opened the third chukker with two consecutive goals, the first tying the game with Villa del Lago at 5 and the next moving Audi/Millarville into a one-goal lead. Smooth teamwork between Ganzi and Fred Mannix was effective, particularly in the fifth chukker, with Mannix sending the ball to Ganzi, who escorted it in. Ganzi was also effective on the defense, even against the might of Hilario Ulloa, who scored nine goals (one above his season average).
Ganzi made a deft save right in front of the goalmouth, deflecting an Hilario Ulloa missile. Ulloa came back a couple plays later, taking the ball and controlling it the entire distance of the field. He flew past Mannix and brought Villa del Lago to a 12-9 victory and a 1-1 standing in the tournament.
Ulloa said the most difficult factor for his team was the comeback from the third and fourth chukkers. "We were playing great, but then we made some silly mistakes in the third chukker," he said, noting that they missed "some easy balls, easy back shots, easy passes. That took us from being two or three goals up to trailing by two. We had control and possession of the ball, but we were missing. We got our confidence back in the fourth. We started to control the ball more and did much better."

Coca-Cola Defeats White Birch 12-8
Gillian Johnston and Mariano Aguerre 
Photo: David Lominska/Polographics.com 

Steve Krueger 
Photo: David Lominska/Polographics.com
Coca-Cola defeated White Birch 12-8. The first chukker was action-packed, with each team scoring two goals, but the tide turned in the second chukker. Six minutes passed with neither team contributing to the scoreboard. Finally Coca-Cola's Steve Krueger thrilled spectators when he sent the ball through the goal posts with only seconds left on the clock. Coca-Cola held the lead for the remainder of the game. All eight players contributed at least one goal to the final score, with Sugar Erskine the highest-scoring player with six goals.
"Probably what helped us is that we tried to stay out of foul trouble," said Erskine. "They were catching up and keeping close to us, so we tried hard not to foul and just make them work through us."
Erskine may have scored the most goals, but it was Krueger's day. He was named Most Valuable Player of the game. Kreuger along with Jesse Bray, won the Team USPA High Goal Achievement Award presented to honor standout Team USPA players who have achieved major accomplishments in the highest levels of competition.
"The High Goal award is great," said Krueger. "It's awesome to be named Most Valuable Player, too. These guys make it simple for me to play well because they give me one job to do and if I do it well, I look good."
Gillian Johnston's Beckon was named Best Playing Pony. "She has always been one of my best mares," said Johnston, noting that she won Horse of the Year two years ago. "She makes me play a little better every time I get on her, so she's pretty special."

The game was live streamed by ChukkerTV, a partner of the USPA Polo Network. Continuous live coverage of the Ylvisaker Cup resumes Tuesday, Feb. 16, with two games at IPC: 5 Star/Horseware/Tackeria versus Palm Beach Illustrated/Technogym at 2 p.m. and Dubai versus Tonkawa at 3:30 p.m. All times are EST.

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