Evergreen (Tom Sprung, Carlitos Galindo, Juan Jo Gonzales and Bayne Bossom) ran roughshod over Hanalei Bay (Krista Bonaguidi, Ashton Wolf, Taylor Freeman and Ian Schnoebelen) in the opening game of the 2018 Stagecoach Challenge at the Empire Polo Club Saturday morning, 12-7, while Granite Bay (Eric Hammon, Julie Fernandez, Alvaro Tadeo and Goyo Mariscal) came up with seven second half goals to slip past Empire (Rob Scapa, Eileen Duffy, Erik Wright and Jim Wright), 13-11 in the four-goal tournament.
Hanalei Bay received one goal by handicap from Evergreen but watched Carlitos Galindo scored the first goal from the field for the 1-1 tie. Bayne Bossom and Ashton Wolf exchanged goals to end the first period all even at 2-2.
Defenses played tight in second chukker action with Juan Jo Gonzalez scoring first for Evergreen, 3-2 and Wolf countering with his second goal of the day to make it 3-3 after two periods of play.
Galindo scored on a 40-yard penalty shot for Evergreen and followed up with a goal from the field that had his team in front, 5-3. Wolf drove the ball through the Evergreen goalposts on a 30-yard penalty shot for the final goal of the half, trailing evergreen, 5-4, after the first three chukkers.
Taylor Freeman tied the score at five goals apiece with his first goal of the game, but Gonzalez responded with a goal from the field and a 40-yard penalty goal that had Evergreen in the lead, 7-5, at the end of the fourth.
Fifth chukker goals from Gonzalez and Galindo had Evergreen in front by four goals, 9-5 as they dominated the fifth chukker. Freeman closed out the period with a 30-yard penalty conversion, with Evergreen on top of a 9-6 score.
Consecutive goals from Bossom, Gonzalez and Galindo in the sixth period put the game out of reach, 12-6, as Hanalei Bay struggled to find any offensive punch. Ian Schnoebelen scored the final goal of the game but it was Evergreen who rode off the field with the 12-7 win.
Gonzalez and Galindo did most of the damage to Hanalei Bay, scoring five goals each. Bossom added two goals for the win. Wolf led the Hanalei Bay attack with three goals. Freeman scored twice, Schnoebelen added a goal and the team received one goal by handicap.
Granite Bay 13½, Empire 11
It was another high-scoring affair in the Stagecoach Challenge’s afternoon game with Granite Bay and Empire combining for a total of 24 goals being scored on the field in a 13½ to 11 Granite Bay victory.
Granite Bay received one-half goal by handicap and added two more in the opening chukker on goals from Eric Hammon and Alvaro Tadeo. Jim Wright supplied the only first period offense for Empire as they fell behind 2½ to 1 after the first period.
Erik Wright jump-started the Empire offense in the second, scoring twice from the field and adding a 30-yard penalty goal. Single goals from Hammon and Tadeo kept Granite Bay in the lead, 4½ to 4, but Empire was pressing.
Jim Wright took over for his father in the third, scoring all three goals for Empire from the field. Hammon and Tadeo each added a goal, but it was Empire with a 7-6½ halftime advantage.
Jim Wright opened the second half with a goal from the field, 8-6½. Tadeo countered with a goal of his own, 8-7½. Eric Wright’s fourth goal of the day made it 9-7½, Empire. Goals from Hammon and Tadeo (60-yard penalty conversion) returned the lead to Grante Bay at the end of the fourth chukker, 9½ to 9.
Tadeo and Eric Wright traded goals, 10½ to 10 in the fifth before a 30-yard penalty goal from Tadeo gave Granite Bay a little breathing room and an 11½ to 10 edge with just seven minutes left in regulation play.
Tadeo scored from the field for his eighth goal of the game as the sixth chukker got underway, extending the Granite Bay lead to 12½ to 10. A 30-yard penalty goal from Hammon had Granite Bay on top, 13½ to 10, with time running out for Empire. Jim Wright scored the final goal of the day for Empire in the 13½ to 11 Granite Bay win.
Tadeo led all scoring with eight goals (two on penalty conversions). Hammon scored two of his five goals on penalty shots. Jim Wright scored six times for Empire with Erik Right adding five goals in the loss.
Stagecoach play will continue on Sunday, December 31st with a 10AM game between Granite Bay (1-0) and Hanalei Bay (0-1). Evergreen (1-0) is slated to face Empire (0-1) at 2PM, while a 10-goal exhibition match between Cottrell 1 (Jenny Luttrell, Gaby Saccullo, Ruben Coscia and Matthew Gonzalez) and Cottrell 2 (Mike Kerley, Jose Rodriguez, Nicolas Maciel and Juan Curbelo) will be sandwiched in between at noon. All games will take place on Field 1.
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
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.