Wins Haas Cup Semifinal 11-7 Over Gateway Merchants
Wellington, FL - Palm Beach Illustrated used a balanced team strategy to run away from Gateway Merchants 11-7 in the Haas Cup Semifinals (Ylvisaker Cup 20-goal subsidiary) at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) on Wednesday. Palm Beach Illustrated will advance to the Haas Cup Final on Sunday.
Palm Beach Illustrated Gateway Merchants
Tommy Collingwood 5 Scott Swerdlin A
Jared Zenni 3 Marianito Obregon 7
Facundo Obregon 6 Matias Magrini 8
Michel Dorignac 6 Carlitos Gracida 4
Palm Beach Illustrated came into the game with a solid strategy. "We planned on rotating the ball and hitting it to open places," said Tommy Collingwood. "The idea was to just keep hitting it forward and keep a rhythm going." The strategy seemed to work well for Palm Beach Illustrated, which has a very balanced roster in terms of players' handicaps. The team frequently created mismatches on coverage and had open players going to goal.
"We knew there would always be someone open, so we just kept hitting it forward or hitting the quick backshot," said Jared Zenni, who was recently selected for Team USPA. As the players shivered in the tent after the game, Zenni added vehemently, "That was really cold today!" The teams were playing polo in a polar vortex, but the blasts of chilled air did not slow down the match. Mariano Obregon quickly ran to goal to start the scoring off for Gateway Merchants, adding to the automatic goal awarded the 19-goal Gateway Merchants team. His score was immediately countered by an answering run from his brother, Facundo Obregon, who followed up with an awesome neckshot from 65 yards out from goal. Michel Dorignac tallied another field goal for Palm Beach Illustrated to close out the chukker (with a lot of help from Zenni, who cleared the path to goal).
Facundo Obregon continued his scoring ways through the second and third chukkers, adding two penalty goals and a field goal off a pinpoint pass from Dorignac. Matias Magrini converted a penalty 4 in the third chukker to keep Gateway Merchants in the hunt, but Palm Beach Illustrated still held a comfortable 6-3 lead to close out the half. In the fourth chukker Facundo Obregon made two more goals, sandwiched around a Mariano Obregon field goal, for Gateway Merchants. The brothers seemed to share a genetic affinity for the same part of the polo field, as they marked each other closely throughout the game.
Until the fifth chukker, the Dorignac-to-Facundo Obregon connection produced most of the goals for Palm Beach Illustrated. But in the fifth, Zenni and Collingwood backed one another up on close plays by goal to produce a pair of field goals, bringing Palm Beach Illustrated into the final chukker with a commanding 10-4 lead. Gateway Merchants attempted a rally behind three goals from Magrini, but Facundo Obregon put an end to the comeback attempt with a coast-to-coast run on a speedy dark brown horse. The final score was 11-7 in favor of Palm Beach Illustrated.
Palm Beach Illustrated will face off against Tonkawa in the Haas Cup Finals on Sunday at noon at IPC.
International Polo Club Palm Beach Fast Facts:
Created by players for players, the International Polo Club Palm Beach was born out of the dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport. Members and guests enjoy panoramic views of the action from field side box seats or lawn and terrace seating. Sponsors and fans convene at The Winners Circle to congratulate the players during the awards presentation following the games. Gourmet brunches, après polo celebrations and the prerequisite charitable events will take place in The Pavilion. Designed to accommodate large parties, corporate clients, as well as family and friends.
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