In the feature match of the day, a powerful Evergreen polo team (Tom Sprung, Carlitos Galindo, Juan Jo Gonzalez and Bayne Bossom) broke open a 5-5 halftime tie to gallop off with a 13-9 win over Empire (Eileen Duffy, Rob Scapa, Jim Wright and Erik Wright) in the second round of play in the 2018 Stagecoach Challenge.
Empire received one goal by handicap from the 4-goal Evergreen lineup but it was Juan Jo Gonzalez with the first goal from the field to level the score at 1-1. Jim Wright gave the lead back to Empire with his first goal of the day, 2-1, with Bayne Bossom leveling the score with the final goal of the chukker, 2-2.
Carlitos Galindo scored back-to-back goals for Evergreen as they moved in front, 4-2, in second period action. Erik Wright converted a 40-yard penalty shot to keep Empire close, 4-3.
Jim Wright scored the tying goal for Empire, 4-4, on a 60-yard penalty shot as the two teams battled on. Single goals from Galindo and Rob Scapa ended the first half in a 5-5 deadlock.
Three fourth period goals from Jim Wright (one on a 40-yard penalty conversion) were answered by a pair of goals from Scapa as Empire inched into the lead, 8-7 as the chukker ended.
The pivotal fifth chukker belonged to Evergreen with Gonzalez scoring twice and Galindo adding a goal. The empire offense was held scoreless and found themselves trailing by two goals, 10-8, with once period left in regulation play.
Erik Wright scored on a 40-yard penalty shot in the sixth chukker, but the balance of the period belonged to Evergreen’s Galindo. A penalty conversion and two more goals from the field carried Evergreen to a 13-9 victory.
Galindo led all scoring with seven goals. Teammates Gonzalez and Bossom each scored three times for the win. Jim Wright led the Empire attack with five goals. Erik Wright scored twice and Scapa added a goal in a losing effort.
The win was the second of the tournament for Evergreen (2-0) while Empire remained winless (0-2).
Hanalei Bay 17, Granite Bay 7
In a 10AM Stagecoach Challenge game, every member of the Hanalei Bay polo team (Krista Bonaguidi, Ian Schnoebelen and Taylor Freeman) got on the scoreboard as they rolled over previously unbeaten Granite Bay (Julie Fernandez, Goyo Mariscal, Alvaro Tadeo and Eric Hammon), 17-7.
Opening goals from Ian Schnoebelen and Krista Bonaguidi had Hanalei Bay with the early lead, 2-0. Alvaro Tadeo and Eric Hammon countered with single goals that tied the game at 2-2 at the end of the first chukker.
Tadeo gave the lead to Granite Bay, 3-2, with a 30-yard penalty goal in the second period, but Hanalei Bay battled back. Goals from Schnoebelen and Ashton Wolf ended the chukker with Hanalei Bay guarding a narrow 4-3 advantage.
Hammon scored the tying goal for Granite Bay as the third chukker got underway, but that was where their offense stalled. A goal from Wolf was complimented by two goals from Taylor Freeman (one on a penalty conversion). The first half ended with Hanalei Bay leading by three goals, 7-4.
Hanalei continued to gain momentum into the second half. Three more goals from Taylor and a goal from Wolf went unanswered, and Hanalei Bay stretched their lead to seven goals, 11-4.
The Hanalei Bay offense continued to pick up steam in the fifth. Wolf and Freeman added two goals each while the Hanalei Bai defense shutout Granite Bay for the second straight chukker. With one period left to play, the Hanalei Bay lead had ballooned to eleven goals, 15-4.
With Hanalei Bay coasting through the final seven minutes of the game, Granite Bay got singe goals from Hammon, Tadeo and Goyo Mariscal. Schnoebelen scored his third and fourth goal of the match as Hanalei Bay evened their Stagecoach Challenge record at 1-1 with a 17-7 win. The loss was the first for Granite Bay, 1-1.
Hanalei Bay’s Freeman led all scoring with seven goals. Wolf scored five times; Schnoebelen added four and Bonaguidi scored once for the win. Hammon and Tadeo each scored three ties for Granite Bay, with Mariscal contributing a goal in the loss.
Competition continues in the 2018 Stagecoach Challenge on Saturday, January 6th with Evergreen (2-0) facing Granite Bay (1-1) and Hanalei Bay (1-1) meeting Empire (0-2). The two teams with the best records will meet one another in the final on Sunday, January 7th.
The 2017-2018 Empire Polo season attracts players from across the country and around the world and offers fourteen weekends of fast-paced polo in the beautiful and relaxed setting of California’s winter playground.
The Empire Polo Club is located at 81-800 Avenue 51 in Indio, CA. For further information go to the club website at http://empirepolo.com or call 760-342-7755.