Santa Barbara, Calif. – Aug. 21, 2019 – The battle for the coveted Pacific Coast Open trophy finally arrived at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California, on Thursday, August 15. After the first day of bracket play, several thrilling matches all decided by one or two goals placed Farmers & Merchants Bank (FMB), Sol de Agosto and Lucchese in the lead.
The opening match of the second day of Silver Air Pacific Coast Open bracket play on Sunday, August 18, was a competitive game between FMB Too! and Lucchese. Both teams came out firing, keeping the score very close in the first half, at a riveting 6-5 in favor of Lucchese. Jeff Hall started strong with three goals in the first two chukkers, but FMB Too! team owner, Henry Walker, countered with two impressive goals in the second and third chukkers. After an inspiring halftime, FMB Too! continued to rack up points while Lucchese only managed three goals off penalty shots in the final three chukkers. The final score 12-9, FMB Too! took home the first victory.
The second game of the day took place between BenSoleimani.com and America Cup champions, Farmers & Merchants Bank. Both teams showcased impressive defense in the first resulting in a uniquely scoreless chukker. BenSoleimani.com began shooting to goal with accuracy in the second and third chukkers, sinking four goals to FMB’s solitary Penalty 4 conversion from Felipe Vercellino. Bensoleimani.com’s Tomy Alberdi* awed the crowd in the fourth with a goal shot from center field to earn his team a four-goal lead 7-3. FMB unable to rebound from the deficit despite their best efforts, conceded the game 10-7 to BenSoleimani.com.
The featured match on the grandstand field pitted Sol de Agosto against Klentner Ranch. Jake Klentner substituting for his injured father, Justin Klentner. The match began evenly with a Penalty 1 in favor of Sol de Agosto and two field goals from Klentner Ranch’s Jesse Bray*. Klentner Ranch widened the gap with three more goals, and impressive defense kept Sol de Agosto to a single penalty conversion. Klentner Ranch maintained their strength in the second half with two additional goals from Bray and one from Geronimo Obregon*. Sol de Agosto found their rhythm again in the fifth and sixth chukkers scoring four field goals and one penalty shot. It was not enough to take back the lead, however, and the score ended 10-8 in favor Klentner Ranch. Jake Klentner commented on his experience playing for his father, “it was a really fast and open game, I always enjoy getting an opportunity to play and making my dad proud.”
*Tomy Alberdi, Jesse Bray and Geronimo Obregon are members of Team USPA. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.