Santa Clara Advances to Final with Victory Over Palm Beach Equine at IPC
Wellington, FL – January 13, 2021 – In a crucial game for both teams, Santa Clara pulled off an emphatic victory Wednesday at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, defeating Palm Beach Equine 14-11 and remaining undefeated in the Joe Barry Memorial. The efficient attacking skills of Santa Clara’s Lucas Escobar and Matias Magrini, who scored nine and two goals, respectively, helped secure the impressive victory on the Isla Carroll West field and the team’s spot in Sunday’s final.
Coming off a thrilling 11-10 overtime victory against Beverly Polo on Sunday, Santa Clara, led by standout player Lucas Escobar, maintained their composure on the field, taking control of the game in a dominant fourth chukker that saw five goals off the mallet of Lucas Escobar. Despite the strong start from Palm Beach Equine, Santa Clara produced nearly twice as many shots at goal while also shooting an accurate 67 percent to outplay their opponents in the second half. Holding Palm Beach Equine to just two field goals over the final four chukkers, Santa Clara’s defense held off the late charge from Palm Beach Equine to capture the victory.
Keko Magrini converted an early goal for Santa Clara to open the scoring in the first chukker, but they were unable to take advantage of their one-goal handicap after Palm Beach Equine’s Costi Caset and Gringo Colombres scored one goal each to end the first chukker at 2-2. Palm Beach Equine dominated the second chukker, delivering four goals, three of which were from Caset, who provided accurate shooting from the penalty line. Santa Clara’s Lucas Escobar answered back, but the momentum remained with Palm Beach Equine as they held the 6-3 lead. Santa Clara bounced back at the end of the half thanks to a balanced attack that resulted in one field goal apiece from Lucas Escobar, Luis Escobar, and Matias Magrini. Cutting the deficit to one, Santa Clara trailed 7-6 with three chukkers remaining between them and a spot in the final.
Determined to claim the lead, Santa Clara entered the second half with a strong and coordinated team play, tearing apart Palm Beach Equine’s solid defense behind the play of Lucas Escobar. Scoring all five of Santa Clara’s goals in the fourth chukker, three coming from the penalty line, Lucas Escobar quickly gave Santa Clara the 11-7 lead in a chukker to remember. Continuing to apply pressure in the fifth chukker, Santa Clara found themselves in foul trouble, committing six fouls that ultimately led to two penalty goals for Palm Beach Equine. Conceding three goals, one each to Costi Caset, Robbie Bilbao, and Gringo Colombres, Santa Clara’s lead was cut to one, setting up an exciting finish. With rain coming down, leaving tough playing conditions, it was Lucas Escobar that capped off an exceptional performance with his eighth and ninth goals to secure the 14-11 victory for Santa Clara and book their place in the final, where they will face Beverly Polo in a rematch on the Home of the U.S. Polo Assn – Field 1 at IPC.
Photo Credit ©Alex Pacheco