Julia Gracida scored seven goals in helping Piocho Ranch to the 18-Goal Cup of the Palm Beaches at the Grand Champions Polo Club Saturday, but it was the legendary Memo Gracida who steered the ship to the 13-11 win over a previously undefeated Catamount team.
Kris Kampsen got Catamount on the scoreboard first, and a goal from Todd Offen (who was playing with a broken ankle) made it 2-0 before two goals from Julio Gracida knotted it at two goals apiece to end the chukker.
Julio converted two penalty shots in the second chukker and a goal from Memo made it 5-2 before Kampsen converted a penalty shot to cut the lead to two goals, 5-3.
Brandon Phillips scored to bring Catamount to within a goal at 5-4 but another penalty conversion by Julio Gracida and a goal from T. J. Barrack ended the first half with Piocho leading 7-4.
â€œWe opened with our best horses,â€ said Memo Gracida, â€œwe knew that we couldnâ€™t fall behind early, like we did last time,â€ said Memo, referring to Piocho Ranchâ€™s earlier 17-6 loss to Catamount, â€œand we knew we had to attack them right away to keep them off balance.â€
The game plane worked to perfection as Catamount struggled to get a rhythm going, and Piocho Ranch marked their opposing players throughout the match.
Phillips converted a penalty shot to open the fourth period that was answered by a goal from Piocho Ranchâ€™s Barrack. A goal from Catamount captain Scott Devon ended the chukker with Catamount trailing by two goals, 8-6.
Catamount continued to press the Piocho Ranch defense, finding a crack here and a crevice there as it picked up goals from Phillips, Kampsen and Offen. Memo and Julio managed single goals, however, and Piocho held on to a precarious 10-9 lead going into the final chukker.
Devon supplied all of the Catamount attack in the sixth chukker with two goals while Julio, Memo and Barrack scored single goals for the final 13-11 score.
Julio Gracida led all players with seven goals. T. J. Barrack and Memo Gracida added three goals apiece. A hard-riding J. J. Celis accounted for no goals, but his man-on-man defense helped hold the scoring combination of Kampsen and Phillips to six goals in the game (the two combined for 14 goals in their last meeting).
Devon, Phillips and Kampsen scored three goals apiece. Todd Offen accounted for two goals.
â€œYou donâ€™t get to beat the Master twice,â€ reflected Devon after the match, referring to Hall of Famer Memo Gracida.
The match marked the end of the Grand Championsâ€™ season. Spring play is scheduled to begin on May 6th.