With a mixture of youth, talent and experience, U.S. Polo Assn Polo Team boasted an impressive undefeated record coming into the Summerland Winery Lisle Nixon Memorial Final. The tournament is the first of a four tournament 12 goal series hosted by the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. The U.S Polo Assn team featured a dynamic father-son duo, Luis Escobar rated at 5 goals and his son Nico Escobar, rated at 1 goal. The Escobars’ were joined by Team USPA member, Patrick Uretz, 4 goals, and Santa Barbara Polo native, Matt Walker, 2 goals. The four-man team matched up against Antelope in the final match.
The Antelope team, Santi Trotz (5), Felipe “Pipe” Vercellino (5), Jim Wright (2) and Geoff Palmer (A), won the tie breaking penalty shootout to earn their berth in the final. U.S Polo Assn drew first blood scoring two quick goals at the start of the first chukker. The fierce foursome took advantage of their offensive momentum scoring four more goals before the second period ended. Antelope fought to defend, but found themselves behind in the match 10-3 at half. Knowing he had three men behind him, the patriarch of the Escobar clan gambled forwards in the fourth chukker, adding two tallies to the US Polo Assn score in addition to a third goal from Walker.
With the game clocking slowly counting down, Antelope began to overcome the deficit. A penalty by Wright and two goals from the field by Vercellino pushed them closer to the opposition late in the fifth chukker. Palmer took advantage of a foul called against the opponent, kicking off the sixth and final chukker with a goal from the penalty line. US Polo Assn did not back down pushing their lead to 17-10 as the final bell sounded. Patrick Uretz was awarded Most Valuable Player. “Country Girl” owned and played by Luis Escobar was named Best Playing Pony.
The players on the US Polo Assn team demonstrated their individual skills and trust in the team throughout the tournament. Team USPA member Uretz spoke highly of his teammates, “Everyone on the team did their job, whether it be to stick with their man, clear the way and make the defensive play or to hit the pass downfield. I was confident taking chances on some plays because I knew there was always someone covering behind me. It is an honor to play for the US Polo Assn team at this club.”