Empire (Rob Scapa, Eileen Duffy, Erik Wright and Nicolas Maciel) rebounded from a humiliating 12-3 loss in USPA Sportsmanship play on Saturday to record a hard-fought 8-7 win over Granite Bay (Eric Hammon, Alvaro Tadeo, Jenny Alter and Diego Cruz) Sunday afternoon at the Empire Polo Club, bringing an end to a day loaded with polo action.
Granite Bay drew first blood, however, with Alvaro Tadeo scoring the first goal of the match for the early 1-0 lead. Empire countered with a goal from Jim Wright to end the first chukker in a 1-1 tie.
Erik Wright’s first goal of the day gave Empire their first lead of the day, 2-1, but Granite Bay continued to press their attack. An empire foul sent Tadeo to the penalty line where he converted from 60-yards out for the final goal of the period to make it 2-2.
Both teasms played disciplined defense with Jim Wright and Tadeo exchanging goals in the third. At the midway point, the score remained level at 3-3.
Pressure from Empire in the fourth chukker resulted in a pair of Granite Bay fouls. Jim Wright took advantage of the Granite Bay errors, converting from 40-yars and 60-yards respectively. The Empire defenders held firm, shutting out the Granite Bay attack for the first time all day. After four periods of play, Empire had taken a two-goal, 5-3 advantage.
Granite Bay erupted for three consecutive goals in the fifth with goals from Diego Cruz, Tadeo and Eric Hammon boosting them into the lead, 6-5. Jim Wright countered with back-to-back goals for Empire, ending the period on top of Granite Bay, 7-6.
Erik Wright opened the scoring in the sixth with his second score of the day, extending the Empire lead to two goals, 8-6, but there was no quit in Granite Bay. Tadeo scored for the fourth time, but time was on Empire’s side as they held on for the 8-7 win.
Jim Wright led all scoring with six goals (two on penalty conversions). Erik Wright added a pair of goals for the win. Tadeo led the Granite Bay attack with three goals from the field and a penalty goal. Hammon and Cruz each added a goal in a losing effort.
Evergreen 8, Hanalei Bay 7
Earlier in the day, Carlitos Galindo dazzled the Sunday crowd by scoring seven times in leading Evergreen (Tom Sprung, Carlitos Galindo, Juan Jo Gonzales and Bayne Bossom) to their second tournament win in as many days as they outlasted Hanalei Bay (Krista Bonaguidi, Ashton Wolf, Taylor Freeman and Ian Schnoebelen) in a hotly-contested 8-7 win.
Although Hanalei Bay received one goal by handicap, an aggressive Evergreen defense held them scoreless from the field in the opening two chukkers. Single goals from Galindo and Bayne Bossom had Evergreen in front, 2-1, after the first. A pair of 40-yard penalty goals from Galindo in the second period extended the Evergreen led to three goals, 4-1.
A goal from Ashton Wolf in the third cut the Evergreen lead down to two goals in the third, but their defense was unable to shut down Galindo. His fourth goal on the day ended the first half with Evergreen leading by three goals, 5-2.
A re-focused Hanalei Bay team took the field in the fourth chukker and appeared to be in sync. Consecutive goals from Ian Schnoebelen, Wolf and Taylor Freeman went unanswered. The fourth period ended with Evergreen and Hanalei Bay all even at five goals apiece.
Goals were hard to come by in the fifth with both defenses stepping it up a notch. A single 40-yard penalty goal from Galindo accounted for all of the scoring as Evergreen edged out to a narrow 6-5 lead with once period remaining in regulation play. Freeman and Galindo traded goals in the sixth, each scoring twice, as Evergreen escaped with the 8-7 win.
Galindo’s seven goals set the pace for the day. Bossom added a goal for the Evergreen victory. Freeman scored a team-high three goals for Hanalei Bay. Wolf added a pair of goals, Schnoebelen scored once and the team received one goal by handicap in the loss.
All four teams will return next week for the completion of the 2018 USPA Sportsmanship Cup.
General Admission and tailgating are free with a $20 parking fee. VIP is $30 per person with a reservation. Call 760-393-7298 for VIP reservations. Entrance is on Ave. 50 between Madison St. and Monroe St. Visit http://www.EmpirePolo.com for more details
Saturday’s Sportsmanship Cup results: Evergreen 12, Empire 3; and Hanalei Bay 13, Granite Bay 6.
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.