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Hilario Ulloa, Mariano Aguerre and Matias Magrini.

Kris Kampsen, Mariano Aguerre, Hilario Ulloa and Santi Torres.

Santi Torres.

Kris Kampsen, Hilario Ulloa and Matias Magrini.

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Alegria Assist Card Takes It to the Limit; Defeats Engel & Völkers 14-8

Written by: Darlene Ricker
Client: International Polo Club Palm Beach
Release Date: 2015-03-11

Alegria Assist Card defeated Engel & Völkers 14-8 on Wednesday, March 11 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) as play continued in the 26-goal USPA Piaget Gold Cup.

Alegria                                   Engel & Völkers
Julian Mannix   4              *Carlitos Gracida/Mariano Gracida   4
Hilario Ulloa   9                       Santi Torres   7
Mariano Aguerre   9               Matias Magrini   8
Sterling Giannico   4               Kris Kampsen   6

                                             *Substitute for Jared Zenni
                                              (Carlos Gracida firstt half/Mariano Gracida 2nd half)

It can be hard to get the leg on an opposing team with a pair of 9-goalers in its pocket. When the two have the firepower of Mariano Aguerre and Hilario Ulloa, it can be downright impossible.

That’s how Wednesday’s game went down for Engel & Völkers as the 26-goal USPA Piaget Gold Cup resumed at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). Alegria, the defending U.S. Open champion, played its 9-goaler combo to the max, winning 14-8. Despite a concerted and sustained effort by Engel & Völkers, there was never any indication that the direction of the game may shift.

Regardless, Kris Kampsen played all six chukkers as though his life depended on it, scoring five total points for Engel & Völkers. Bursting out of the gate and riding hell-bent-for-leather, he scored from the field within the first 30 seconds of the game. That gave Engel & Völkers a fleeting two-point lead. (The team started with an automatic point because of its handicap.) That was the only daylight Engel & Völkers saw, though, and it faded out in a flash. The opposing 18-goal machine immediately kicked into gear with supreme (and well-founded) confidence. Alegria’s two heavy-hitters took turns answering Kampsen’s goal in rapid-fire succession (Aguerre-Ulloa-Aguerre). Sterling Giannico contributed another point, bringing the tally to 4-2 in favor of Alegria at the end of the first chukker.

That set the tone for the rest of the match. Alegria continued to control the conversation, and Engel & Völkers couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Alegria asserted itself with four goals in the second chukker and kept Engel & Völkers scoreless in that period. From there the gap widened chukker by chukker.

Intermittent cloudbursts (and intermittent sunshine) punctuated the middle of the match. During downpours the ball went wonky, bouncing and skidding across the field. Several times it managed to escape the mallet despite what had appeared to be a sure hit in the works. But the players were unfazed. Packing up his gear to head off to his college class after the match, Julian Mannix said the rain was a surprise but that the ball’s capriciousness didn’t matter. “We’re all playing on the same field, so it’s the same for all of us,” he said, adding that the footing remained excellent throughout the game.

Engel & Völkers got an exceedingly tough break on a play in the fifth chukker. Kampsen fired a missile and was looking good for another goal, but instantaneously there was a sharp “crack!” His mallet head went flying downfield neck-and-neck with the ball. With Kampsen neutralized, Engel & Völkers found itself in a three-against-four showdown. To no one’s surprise, Alegria took full advantage. With Matias Magrini chasing him down like a foxhound on the scent, Mannix blasted the ball all the way down the field to Ulloa, who was perfectly positioned directly in front of the goal. Ulloa nonchalantly gave the ball a little tap, advancing Alegria to a commanding six-point lead (11-5). Ulloa capped that off with yet another point for Alegria, weaving through a pack so thick that if a horse blanket had been dropped from above it probably would have bagged enough players to make a team.

The action escalated until the final horn, with the underdog valiantly trying to turn the tide. Magrini capitalized on a right of way violation called in favor of Engel & Völkers and scored on a penalty shot. His teammates Kampsen and Santi Torres made the last two goals of the day in the final chukker, with the game ending 14-8 for Alegria.

Aguerre and Ulloa were rain-soaked but smiling after the match. “I think it was a great game – we played the game we wanted to,” said Ulloa. “At the beginning of the season we had some good games and some games that we didn’t play that well. The main idea was to try to get our way of playing right, and I think today we got it, so we’re really happy.”

The USPA Piaget Gold Cup continues Thursday at IPC with three games. Audi plays Las Monjitas at 10 a.m.; Orchard Hill opposes Lechuza Caracas at 12:30 p.m., and Coca-Cola faces Valiente at 3 p.m.                                                          

Liberty Cup Results
Goose Creek        Team USPA    
Maureen Brennan   1    Will Tankard   3
Tommy Collingwood   5    Jesse Bray   5
Cote Zegers   5         Felipe Viana   4        
Mariano Gonzalez   7    Mason Wroe   4

In the 18-goal Liberty Cup on Tuesday, March 11 Goose Creek defeated Team USPA 13-8.


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