In the first semifinal game of the Gulfstream Pacific Coast Open at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, Farmers & Merchants Bank (FMB) faced off against Restoration Hardware. All three goals in the first chukker were made from the field; two for Restoration Hardware, one from Team USPA member Costi Caset followed by another from Jason Crowder, and one from FMB’s Joaquin Panelo. The second chukker was decided by penalties, both teams converting a penalty each. FMB capitalized on a series of fouls in the third chukker with a penalty 2 conversion from Lucas Criado, followed by a penalty 6 “safety” conversion from Panelo. A lone goal by Ben Soleimani for Restoration Hardware, left the two teams tied 4-all going into the half.
Jason Crowder of Restoration Hardware, and Joaquin Panelo of Farmers & Merchants Bank
FMB continued their momentum in the fourth with a skillful 40-yard goal from Criado followed by another penalty 3 conversion from Panelo. These two goals for FMB combined with excellent defensive work, kept Restoration Hardware scoreless, giving FMB the edge and a two-goal lead. FMB continued their scoring streak with two goals from the field from Panelo and Criado bringing the score up 8-4. Restoration Hardware came back strong at the end of the fifth with two unanswered goals putting a stop to FMB’s two-chukker scoring streak.
Restoration Hardware takes the win.
FMB maintained the lead 8-6 going into the sixth and final chukker. Crowder began the sixth chukker scoring with a penalty 2 conversion, to bring the score within one. A second goal came from Caset, after an attempt from Crowder bounced off the goal post, tying the score 8-all with 2:09 left on the clock. A foul by FMB awarded Restoration Hardware a penalty 2 with 1:18 remaining in the chukker. Caset sent the ball through the posts, despite a defending FMB player’s touch on the ball, to put Restoration Hardware ahead by one with 20 seconds left on the clock. The ball was bowled in at the center, but time ran out for FMB and the final horn sounded to end the chukker. Restoration Hardware defeated FMB with a final score of 9-8, securing their spot in the finals. When asked about the win for Restoration Hardware Soliemani said, “The last two chukkers were amazing, we’ve been playing great as a team all season and the great camaraderie allowed us to come back and win.”
Geronimo Obregon of Klentner Ranch and Felipe Vercellino of FMB Too!
In the second game of the PCO semifinals, FMB Too! competed against Klentner Ranch. The first goal was scored by Klentner Ranch’s Facundo Obregon on a penalty 3 conversion, however FMB Too! rallied, answering with two goals, leading 2-1 at the end of the chukker. Klentner Ranch quickly tied the score in the second chukker with a beautiful 100-yard run by Team USPA member Jesse Bray. However, Klentner Ranch’s offensive strike was answered once again with two goals from FMB Too!; a penalty 3 conversion by Paco de Narvaez and a goal from Henry Walker. Each team scored on a penalty in the third chukker and the first half ended 5-3 in favor of FMB Too!
Geronimo Obregon of Klentner Ranch and Paco de Narvaez of FMB Too!
Following the half, brothers Facundo and Geronimo Obregon (Team USPA) showcased their talent, each scoring a goal from the field to tie the game 4-all. Marking his fourth goal of the game, Paco de Narvaez converted a penalty 4 and FMB Too! once again took the lead. Felipe Vercellino followed with another goal, answered by Geronimo Obregon but Paco de Narvaez finished the chukker with an additional goal from the field. FMB Too! lead 8-6 with one chukker left in regulation. Vercellino led the sixth chukker scoring with another field goal (his third of the game) widening the gap 9-6 with 2:40 remaining in the final chukker. Great defense by FMB Too! kept Klentner Ranch to a single goal from Geronimo Obregon. A final penalty 4 conversion from Paco de Narvaez sealed the deal, securing FMB Too!’s victory, 10-7 over Klentner Ranch. After the game, Paco de Narvaez stated, “All four guys played well all six chukkers, and that was the difference. We scored from the beginning and Henry played fantastic.” FMB Too! will join Restoration Hardware in the finals of the Gulfstream Pacific Coast open on August 28 at 6:00pm ET.
The finals of the Gulfstream Pacific Coast Open will be rebroadcast on NBC Sports Network on September 11 at 6:00pm ET.