Polo Players Edition

JAN 2019

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

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P O L O R E P O R T POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 53 Tonkawa and BTA advanced to the final, facing each other for the third straight year. Early on, the game remained tight, both teams trading goals in the first two chukkers with Tonkawa pulling ahead in the third with goals from Wroe, Coppola and Panelo, bringing the score to 7-3. At halftime, guests were treated to a champagne divot stomp, car displays from Land Rover Houston Central and Jaguar Houston Central and live music from a flamenco guitarist. Tonkawa extended its lead after the half with goals again from Wroe, Panela and Coppola. BTA's Krueger put in two goals from the penalty line to cut the deficit to 10-5. Coppola and Panelo were successful again in the fifth with two goals apiece. Krueger knocked one in from 60 yards out for a 14-6 score going into the final period. BTA mounted a comeback with four goals from Krueger and a goal apiece from Hall and Ulloa but time ran out and Tonkawa had the 14-12 win. Matt Coppola was named MVP and his Veleta was named Best Playing Pony Pro. Best Playing Pony Sponsor went to Mechita, owned by Jeff Hildebrand. The same four teams competed for the USPA H. Ben Taub Memorial. The games got underway with Tonkawa edging Whitehall Ranch, 11-10, and BTA topping Eureka, 14-8. In the second round, Tonkawa edged BTA, 6- 5, and Whitehall Ranch slipped Eureka, 10-9. The third round had BTA edging Whitehall Ranch, 12-11, but before the next match could begin, the skies opened up. The rain postponed the final 10 days, until Oct. 31 when BTA took on Tonkawa for a repeat of the previous final. With rain limiting the time left in the season, the H. Ben Taub final was also played as the first game of the Texas Open. Despite unfavorable weather in the second half of the game, both teams fought hard for the title, with BTA coming out ahead, 10-7. Play started out even as both teams matched each other in goals scored—Krueger and Ulloa scoring penalty conversions while Coppola nailed a pair of goals. "It's been a tough season for everyone to get anything going in any sort of rhythm, but we had a good couple of practices to get ready and try to keep it simple," explained Krueger. "We moved the ball well and tried to play off each other a little more than making individual plays." Eager to gain the edge on its adversary, BTA scored three goals in the second, while shutting Tonkawa out for the entirety of the chukker. While both teams traded goals back and forth throughout the third, BTA finished out the first half doubled up on its opponent, 8-4. Rain came at the top of the fourth, but both teams were determined to finish what they had started. Tonkawa mounted a comeback and sunk three consecutive goals to come within one of BTA. In a fight to the finish, BTA capitalized on two more shots on goal to take the day's win and the H. Ben Taub Cup title, 10-7. "It's been really difficult with the rain to get the team going," said Hall. "The first game we played them we didn't have time to get the horses ready with the rain. Then when we played them in bracket play the second time, we didn't play with Steve because he got hurt in an 8-goal game and we lost that game going into the sixth chukker winning by three. Today we kept it together for six chukkers and that was the result. Everybody played well and when that happens we win." Toly Ulloa was MVP and his 14-year- old homebred mare, Lavina Caprichosa, was Best Playing Pony. In 8-goal action, the Regional President's Cup final was delayed for over two weeks due to rain, but BTA (Chrys Beal, KC Krueger, Rob Stenzel, Steve Krueger) and Ghurka (Fox Benton, Drew Luplow, Cody Ellis, Brad Mallet) finally played off on Oct. 30. The two teams topped the seven that began the tournament. Displaying strong defense early in the first chukker, both teams protected their goals well, neither scoring from Beal Cup winners: Tonkawa's Mason Wroe, Joaquin Panelo, Matt Coppola and Jeff Hildebrand with Chrys Beal and Brooks Ballard H. Ben Taub Cup winners: BTA's Kelly Beal, Toly Ulloa, Steve Krueger and Jeff Hall with Tommy Biddle and Kitch Taub KAY;EE WROE KAY;EE WROE

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