Santa Barbara, Ca. – June 18, 2019 – The competition is heating up at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet club as six teams fight for a chance to earn a piece of the $50,000 prize money. With the beginning of this new high stakes tournament there are also a few new names on the roster including John Muse’s Lucchese, Ben Soleimani’s bensoleiemani.com, and Ivan Weiss’s Novis Insurance. The other three teams remain the same.
The first game on Sunday morning was between two new teams, bensoleimani.com and Lucchese. Both teams arrived to the game with winning records having defeated their opponents in the first round of bracket play on Friday. There was very strong defense in the first half as very few goals were scored. At half time Soleimani led by one with a score of 4-3. Soleimani’s Felipe Vercellino came to the second half firing at goal, putting three on the board in the fourth chukker. Lucchese’s Jason Crowder fought back in the fifth chukker by scoring two goals from the field to start the final chukker only down by two. Soleimani kept Lucchese scoreless in the sixth while putting three more goals on the board to win the game by a comfortable margin 11-7.
The noon game was a match up between Novis Insurance and Farmers and Merchants Bank. Both teams had a change in the roster. Lucas Criado, out from an injury, was replaced by 5 goal player Santiago Von Wernich. Ivan Weiss is new to the roster with his team Novis Insurance. FMB, a ten goal team, held on two their lead by the two goal handicap through the first half. A strong chukker by Novis Insurance in the fourth closed the gap to one goal. However, FMB left Novis scoreless in the fifth creating a comfortable lead. FMB finished on top 13-11 moving on in the tournament with an undefeated record.
The featured game on the grandstand field was between Klentner Ranch and FMB Too. Omar Mangalji was replaced by zero goal player Meghan Judge. Strong defence by both teams made for a very low scoring few chukkers. Patrick Uretz scored two from the field at the beginning of the first chukker and FMB Too remained scoreless until the third chukker. Three goals by FMB Too’s Monteverde gave them the lead 3-2 at the half. A very close second half and a penalty shot in the last minute of the final chukker by Juan Monteverde sent the game into overtime. After a long battle in overtime with many close shots on goal FMB Too’s Santi Wulff shot from nearly midfield to win the game. Wulff said “It was a very tough game and a long overtime chukker. I took a chance shooting at goal, in or out, I wanted to finish the play. It worked in our favor.” The game finished 9-8 in the seventh chukker.